He Will Come Near to You

20160509_124150

“Come near to God, and he will come near to you.”

James 4:8

Have you ever gone through a difficult time, and found that drawing close to God brought you great comfort? God in His love for us is so amazing. This is a wonderful verse, filled with encouragement!

And you know what? We don’t have to wait for tough times to draw close. In fact, if we seek Him in the good times, maybe the tough times won’t be quite as difficult. Or another way of saying this is, we will be better able to handle the adversities of life.

The actual context for this verse though, is an exhortation for us to be humble, not proud, and if there is sin in our lives we need to repent of it! Many believe that speaking or writing of sin and repentance is a negative thing, but it’s not, in God’s eyes.

We need to be honest with God, and making things right, receiving His mercy is part of our relationship. It is simply a natural part of our faith walk!

Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for being near us, for drawing close when we draw close to You! Forgive us, and continue to make us into the people You want us to be!

Hallelujah! Praise be to God!

Amen.

     

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Advertisements

Listening and Doing

100_1845

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

James 1:22-24

Here the Book of James challenges us to follow after the Lord God! Have you ever read something, then forgotten all about it and you don’t remember what it says? I have!

If we don’t practice our faith by following and applying the Scriptures to our lives, watch out. We can even wind up deceiving ourselves, believing we are “ok” with God, when in reality we are not.

When I was growing up as a boy, one of the things that kept me away from the faith, was people saying they were believers, and they were actually hypocrites! Our house on Sunday mornings, usually meant some of the most horrendous fights would take place, between my mother and stepfather, all while getting ready to go to church!

I was like, no thank you! And some confuse “Churchianity” (going to church) with having faith and loving God. My wife grew up in a church where you could do whatever you wanted Saturday night, including getting drunk and having wild parties, as long as you were in your seat for church on Sunday morning. No thank you!

My heart now is to follow Him, being pleasing to Him!

Heavenly Father thank you for leading us and guiding us through the Scriptures! Help us to follow You, by doing and not just listening to Your words. Amen and Amen!

P.S. I really love the Book of James!

        

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Friday Focus – Religion

100_1295

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 1:27

So many people of faith that I know really, really don’t like the word, “religion”. I find this odd, and mainly an American concept. I know, because I used to do the same thing. We sometimes say things like, “I don’t have a religion, but I have faith in God.” And that can be true if we are not plugged into a place of worship, but do we really want to sound so independent?

Even more prevalent is the phrase, “I don’t have a religion, but I have a relationship with God.” Oh wow, maybe it is simply a matter of semantics, but this can be terribly confusing for people that don’t have the same faith we do. Are we really saying that we are to high and mighty to be part of a religion, or even a church? No of course not.

When we use this phrase though, without realizing it, we can sound like we are judging others that say they have a “religion”. In other words, we give the impression that we really know God – and others? Those religious people? Well maybe they really don’t know Him. You see where that can lead us and how wrong it can sound? We too often judge others.

I love the Book of James. According to James we do have a religion. You know what this verse reminds me of? The Two Greatest Commandments, of loving God and loving our neighbor as our self. And you know what? It’s ok to light a few candles and kneel down from time to time.

So how is your religion doing?

I wish you peace.

       

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Stronger Faith Through Tough Times

20160418_122232

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,

whenever you face trials

of many kinds,

because you know

that the testing of your faith

produces perseverance.”

James 1: 2,3

God really does know when we face difficult circumstances. So how can He say to us to consider those circumstances or contemplate them with joy? How is that even possible?

I hate tough times, I think we all do if we admit it.  And yet God is encouraging us here because He sees the bigger picture!

He can see something taking place internally that is actually positive. I think by perseverance God means that we get stronger or rather our faith becomes stronger.

Ever seen a cancer patient survive? I have. What an incredible boost to us and strengthening of us that is!

I’m also reminded of an athlete that gets stronger, or faster due to resistance! Wow, so cool.

Lord God it is difficult to see the good or positive within difficult circumstances, but help us to see the big picture!

Do a work in us, and through us to make our faith, our trusting in You, even stronger. Help our roots to go down deeper. Only You can do this Lord God Almighty. Amen and amen!

      

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

 

Let Them Pray

20170930_170200(0)

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.

Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs

of praise. Is anyone among you sick?

Let them call the elders

of the church to pray over them

and anoint them with oil

in the name of the Lord.”

James 5: 13, 14

I love how the Book of James is so practical, and really meets us right where we are.

Here are wonderful instructions on what to do in the different circumstances we face each day!

If we are happy we can praise God. If we are in trouble we should pray for help! He hears our prayers.

And notice too we can seek the help of others, when we are sick. There seems to be something special about leaders praying for us.

Some churches save this type of prayer for people on death’s doorstep. But perhaps the intention here is to keep us from getting to that point!

And the oil? I’m told this is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, a beautiful and encouraging illustration of God’s care for us.

Lord God thank You for these beautiful verses, instructing us about the different forms of prayer and when to use them.

We praise You, our God and thank You for working in our lives! Lead us and guide us each day. Amen!! And amen!!

   

Prayer, Commentary, and Image Copyright© 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

 

Acceptable Religion

100_5778

“Religion that our God and Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:

to look after orphans and widows in their distress

and to keep oneself

from being polluted by the world.”

James 1:27

 

I know you’re probably thinking, is it really that simple? That if we show compassion for people in need, and keep ourselves walking with God and doing what is good, that’s all we need to do?

Well in a way, yes. Notice James uses the word “religion” instead of faith. Our religion needs to focus on these two areas.

You know what these two areas remind of? – the Two Greatest Commandments, according to the Messiah, are to love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

You see, if you love God you won’t want to be polluted. Now I know we each have a different standard on this and that’s ok. But let me give you an example.

Many of us watch movies, and I happen to like science fiction. It’s great adventure, but it’s pretend. When there’s cruelty though, I will sometimes fast forward, regardless of what kind of movie it is. I do not like violence.

And as far as compassion, if we treated our neighbor as ourselves, we would make sure they have enough food to eat, a decent place to live, and even medical care! In other words, anything that we would do to take care of ourselves, we should help others to do, if they are unable.

Lord God thank you for working in our lives. Help us to love You, and to love those in need! Make us into the people you want us to be. Amen.

   

Prayer, Commentary, and Image Copyright© 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible