James- Day 46

Monday, October 31, 2011 

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”
James 4:13

James is addressing a portion of his audience that was apparently entrepreneurial.  He was speaking to them about their plans.  These people had very, very strategic plans.  Their plans actually could potentially be a good example to those of us who want to be good stewards of the time, and resources that God has given us.  Their plans included:

  • a time- “Today or tomorrow”- The idea that two options are talked about here does not mean that they were being careless about this decision.  They had specific reasons and thoughts specific to the timing of their venture.
  • a place- “such” a city- This could mean that they had planned a specific city or at least a specific type of city in which they planned to conduct their business.
  • a duration- “a year”- The plans descirbed here were not short term plans like a business trip over a weekend.  These were long-term, life altering decisions that are being described.
  • a goal- “buy and sell and get gain”- These people were not just carelessly planning a vacation or buying a home.  They were being strategic with what they were trying to accomplish.  They were chasing investment opportunities and business ventures.

As I’m writing this devotion, I’m sitting at Panera Bread, which is a place I like to go from time to time to think, study and write.  At the table next to me is what looks to be a father and a daughter planning out the daughters spring semester of college.  It’s pretty cool to see a dad taking such an interest in his daughters future to help her make decisions about what classes to take, and strategies to employ in being successful in college.  It is interesting that this is the environment in which I’m reading what James has to say about planning.  It further proves James overall point.

We plan all of the time over our entire lives.  Even those who don’t plan have really just planned not to plan.  What I mean is that they have chosen to do something else with their time other than taking the appropriate amount of time to really think through their future.

James is not against planning.  (Check out verse 15 coming up!).  A failure to plan appropriately is a surefire plan to fail.  James is against incomplete planning as we will see tomorrow.

Although James’ point in this text is not to give us inspiration or information on how to plan, it seems a good time to ask this question.  Have you taken time to think about your future?  Have you been purposeful and pro-active about where you are going and what you are doing?  If you haven’t, and if you have, make sure to come back all week long as we look at what James has to say about planning.  If you haven’t thought about your future and where you are going, how can you start today?

What a way to end!

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:20, 21)

This is the last two verses in Revelation, which is the last book of the Bible.

These verses tell us a couple of really cool things.

1. One day Christ is coming back.“Surely I come quickly. Amen.”One of the last things we’re told is that Jesus Christ is coming back. And He said He’s coming quickly.

2. The grace of Christ is for everyone. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”. Isn’t that a really great way to end the Bible? You know that the grace of Christ is offered to all. It’s up to us to share that message!

Are these two truths a big part of your life? Should they be?

James- Day 45

Friday,  October 28, 2011

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)

10.  “Humble…lift you up”  The last command is a great summary of all of the verbs from 7-10.  When we realize who God really is, and who we really are it should cause us to be quick to praise God, quick to serve God and quick to proclaim God to others.  When we realize who God really is and who we really are it should cause us to be slow to promote ourselves, slow to praise ourselves, and slow to serve ourselves.

We have been forgiven of so much.  We have been shown so much mercy and grace.  In the context of this verse, the
humility is necessary for mercy and grace.  What did really have to offer God?  Only our sin.  When we are humble enough to acknowledge our sin and ask for forgiveness, He makes us one of His kids (Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5), gives us eternal life, and makes us heirs to an incredible inheritance (Romans 8:17).


The command to “humble” really summarizes what all the other commands were saying.  To humble ourselves we submit to God, resist the devil, draw night to God, cleanse our hands, purify our hearts, and mourn over our sin.  What does humbling yourself in the sight of God look like for you today?

James- Day 44

Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” James 4:9

6-8.- “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep…”  The context of this verse helps us to understand that James is telling us to be sorrowful over our sin.  If sin brings forth death (1:5), it is only logical that sin should bring sorrow.  “Be afflicted, and mourn” speaks of what is going on inside, and “weep” speaks to a visible external sign of sorrow.

  1.  “Let your laughter….to gloom”

God takes our sin very seriously.  It is no laughing matter.  There should be an understanding of the serious nature of sin.

What you and I need to understand today is what God’s perspective is on sin.  We tend to ignore, minimize, forget, or just feel guilty over our sin.  From God’s perspective sin is an attack on His character and person.  It goes against everything He is.  Think about it.  He takes sin so seriously that He sends His only, begotten Son to die because of it.  It speaks to His holiness and righteousness that such a serious solution had to be undertaken.

So when  James says to “be afflicted, mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness” he is saying something about the seriousness, darkness and sadness of our sin.  He is trying to give us God’s perspective.  Our sin sent Jesus to the cross.  Although that is good news for us, certainly it should cause us to be sorrowful over our sin.


What is your attitude towards your sin?  Is it “no big deal”, or is it something you are taking seriously?