Wednesday Morning: 03 Jul 2019 – James 4:1-17 ~ Faith comes close to God.

Wednesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – James 4:1-17 (NLT)

Drawing Close to God

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Warning against Judging Others

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

Warning about Self-Confidence

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
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Morning Reflection:

Faith comes close to God.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts,
for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

– James 4:8 –

What prevents us from coming close to God? Divided loyalty – we want to be friends with the world and with God at the same time. But that’s not possible, as James points out –

If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

So what should we avoid as believers living in the world?

+ Conflict and quarrels with other believers
+ Desiring personal pleasure over closeness with God
+ Praying to gratify our desires instead of aligning them with God’s will
+ Excluding God from our daily life, instead of relying on him in every aspect of our lives

God gives help (grace) to those who put God first in their lives. How do we do that?

+ Humble ourselves – Surrender of our will to God; ordering our priorities in harmony with his priorities.
+ Resist Satan – Refuse to give in to doubt, denial, disregard for God’s Word, and disobedience.
+ Purify ourselves – Confession and repentance removes our sins and cleanses our hearts so that we can live for God’s glory.

Questions for consideration:

  • In today’s reading, James assumes that believers have an ongoing battle with sin creeping into our lives. Is that true of you? Please explain.
  • We live in a time when “the world” with it’s values and priorities are paraded before us 24/7. Can you identify any “world values” that are preventing you from coming close to God? Please explain.
  • Where do you need God’s mercy and grace to resist the influence of Satan in your life? Please explain.
  • What role do confession and repentance have in your life? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: Collect for Purity

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“Nearer, My God, to Thee” – Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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