Posts Tagged ‘Faith


God Hears Our Prayers

You don’t have to be a spiritual superhero for God to hear your prayers. You need a simple faith in Him and His power and you need to pray according to His will. James gives this example from the Old Testament:

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. – James 5:17-18 (NIV)

Elijah was an Old Testament prophet who was concerned about how the king of Israel, Ahab, had turned God’s people away from the Lord in order to worship the false god, Baal. So Elijah prayed that there would be a drought in the land and there was for over three years. Elijah was an ordinary man who believed in the power of God and he prayed for God’s will to be done. James is telling us that the Lord can and will do amazing things if we simply believe in Him and His mighty power and if we humble ourselves before the Lord. Pray in humility and faith and watch God do the impossible.

Dead Faith

James, toward the end of chapter 2, gives two Old Testament examples of faith and deeds going together. First, he says that Abraham was declared right with God because he trusted God and put his faith into action when he was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on the altar. James then writes:

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. – James 2:24 (NIV)

Then, James gives the example of a prostitute named Rahab who hid some Hebrew spies in the Promised Land and was also considered righteous by God because of what she did. James then wrote:

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. – James 2:26 (NIV)

One would normally not compare one of the patriarchs of Judaism with a prostitute, but James does. Why? Because faith and deeds are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Don’t settle for a dead faith. Put your faith in God into action by caring for and loving people today.

The Evidence Of Faith

Good Wednesday morning to you! James, after saying that faith without action is dead, has an “argument” with someone who tries to say that faith and deeds do not go hand in hand. He writes:

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. – James 2:18-19 (NIV)

The evidence for true faith in Christ is in the deeds that we do in His name. Demons believe in Christ and tremble at the sound of His name. What separates someone from a demon? It is in the faith we have in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. How do we show that we believe in Jesus? It is when we love people – all people – that we demonstrate our love for Him. There are a lot of “good” people in this world who do really nice things, but all of those nice things won’t get them into Heaven. You can do lots of nice things for people, but if you don’t have faith in Christ, you will perish. Jesus said that He is the way and the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. True faith in Christ is what separates a follower of Jesus from someone who claims to be a “good” person. James said it best, faith without deeds is dead. Get out there and demonstrate your love for God today by loving someone in Jesus’ name.

A D.O.A. Kind Of Faith

Good Tuesday morning to you! James, in writing about faith and deeds, gives an example of a fellow Christ-follower who is in need. He says:

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

We can talk a good game about loving God and loving people, but if our actions don’t match our words, do we really love them? We can say that we believe until we’re blue in the face, but if we don’t put hands and feet to our faith, do we really believe in the One who served and sacrificed for others? If we don’t do something about our brothers and sisters in need, our faith is dead on arrival. In the church, we must not neglect the poor and needy among us. There will be those who struggle and we need to help them. It’s the proof that our faith is more than just talk.

A Lifestyle Of Love And Obedience

We can make all kinds of claims as believers in Jesus. We can claim that we love God. We can claim that we are followers of Christ. We can claim that we know God. James asks us about the proof of our claims. He says:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? – James 2:14 (NIV)

He asks two rhetorical questions in this verse. First, what good is it if we say we believe, but live like we don’t? The answer is that it doesn’t do anyone any good. Second, is this the kind of faith that saves a person? The answer is no. If there is no evidence of faith in our lives, do we really believe? Following Jesus is more than saying, “I believe.” Following Jesus is a lifestyle of love and obedience. We must do more than simply claim that we believe. We need to live out our faith each day. If we’re not obeying God’s Word by loving God and loving people, do we really believe?

Faith And Wealth

We get it all wrong sometimes when it comes to wealth and faith. We may be tempted to think that if we had more money, we’d be better Christians. We could tithe more and worry less. That’s not necessarily true. Listen to what James says:

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? – James 2:5 (NIV)

When we are poor, we need more faith to make it through each day. Our hope and our faith is not in wealth or material possessions. Our hope and our faith are in God. More money means more problems. Less money means deeper faith. When God is all you’ve got, you discover that God is all you need. What do you want more, money or God? Only one leads to eternal life in Heaven.

The Double-Minded Doubter

James wrote that when we doubt God in our prayers that we are like waves tossed about by the sea. He continued:

That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. – James 1:7-8 (NIV)

God is willing and able to answer the prayers we pray according to His perfect will. The question is, “Do we truly believe?” Or do we doubt God’s power and His love before we ever bow in prayer? James says that we are double-minded. When you pray today, pray in faith. Trust the Lord to provide. Trust God for healing – whether it is physical or emotional. Know that our God can move mountains if mountains need to be moved. If He doesn’t move mountains, He can carry you over them. Too often, though, we don’t even pray. I’ve heard it said that God will not answer the prayers we don’t pray. Humble yourself before Him. Pray in faith. Surrender to His will. Know that He knows what is best and will take care of you. Take a moment to pray to Him now about the most pressing need you have. May His will be done in your life today.

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