James (Today's New International Verson unless otherwise noted)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5
Jesus, it is hard to be joyful over trials, but then again, You didn't turn away from hard things, so why should I. I think I have seen my share of hardships lately, and then I see someone who has had it so much worse. I wish I could say my perseverance so I don't need trials, but that obviously isn't true. Thank-you Lord that Your word reminds me why there are trials. Help me to learn what You want me to learn, and to be joyful as you want me to be joyful.
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.
Jesus, I do need Your wisdom Lord. Not wisdom as the world sees it, but as You see it. Let me make all decisions in light of Your word and Your wisdom and Your love. Make it my natural way Lord. Amen.
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Those who doubt should not think they will receive anything from the Lord; 8 they are double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Jesus, I know I shouldn't doubt You. You have always been so faithful to me. But this is a hard saying Lord, for I know I do doubt. I am thrown about like a wave on the see. I know I can be double-minded. Am I lost Lord? I need so much from You. I need everything I need from You! Please Lord, give me faith, help me believe. Help me not be double-minded. My family needs me to be a rock of faith, not tossed about like a wave. Oh Lord, do not abandon my needs. You know better than I what I truly need. Lord, change me. I trust in You to provide I and my family all our needs for I have nowhere else to turn.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
Jesus, You know that I am materially rich. Perhaps not by U.S. standards, but compared to the poverty of the world, I am rich. You also know I am spiritually poor Lord. You know my heart better than I. Help me to loathe my "stuff" and to love only You. Make me shed my belongings so I can live only for You.
12 Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Jesus, help me to persevere. You know I am tempted right now Jesus. I gave in to my lust for just a few minutes and now it won't go out of my mind. This trial is long Lord. Rescue me. Do not let me fall. Hang on to me Lord. Please, give me perseverance.
13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Jesus, this is so true. It is the path of temptation and sin, and I know it ends in death. I have been nearly dead. I thought I was dead, and You rescued me. Please Lord, forgive me my sin and keep me from sinning again. Make me desire only You Lord. Help.
16 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 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. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Father, there is so much in this little paragraph.
Everything is from You Father. I don't deserve anything but death. I don't accomplish anything without You. I simply don't have life at all without You. I am sorry for y failings Father. thank-you so much that I can lean on You and trust You to fill my every need.
You do not change Father, and that is so important. You do not love me today and cast me aside tomorrow. You do not make a promise a thousand years ago, and fort it a thousand years from now. You are here forever with us and love us, though we stumble and fall constantly. Your Word is here for us to read, and never is it too old or not relevant. You are my rock. Thank-you so much.
You chose us. Amazing. Why? When I was nothing but sin, You decided to love me and save me and bring me home to You. I have no idea why. thank-you so much. Bring those I love home too Father. Your will be done Father. You know I can be fool. Thank-you for choosing me.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because our anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Jesus, I need so much help here. I am almost the opposite of what You are saying. Help me to listen Lord, with You ears and hear what You hear. Help me to keep my mouth closed till You speak and only say what You say. Help me to be calm and patient and loving. I am sorry for all the times my anger flared against my children . How was that showing them what You are like? Forgive me Lord and help me change quickly.
21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Jesus, inspire me and give me courage to rid my life of all the filth that is in it. Help me to be pure and clean and holy. I can't do it alone, only with your help do I stand a chance. And then fill every little spot that is now impure with Your holy word Lord. Put it in my heart, completely.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror 24 and, after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget what they look like. 25 But those who look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continue in it—not forgetting what they have heard but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Jesus, You know I can read Your word and not be changed. I did it for years! I also know Your word can change me in the most profound ways. I know my heart has been changed by You. I am so far from perfect, even so far from good, but You have touched me. Continue to work in me. Please make me open to Your word and change me through it. Let your effect be profound and everlasting. Change me Lord!
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 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.
Jesus, can I even come close to keeping just this paragraph of Your word? Not without Your help and power! Keeping a tight grip on my tongue has never been my strongest trait. I have hurt so many with my words. Helping the helpless, that is a worthy cause. Help me to be bold in my giving, trusting in You for my own needs. Keeping my self pure has always been a problem. You know I need You completely to have any hope of that at all. Lord, I need You power so bad!