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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Book of James

Faith In Action-The Patience of Job

faith in action

James 5:11

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

 During the last few days, we have covered a lot of territory concerning patience and endurance. We have seen James provide us with many good reasons why we should live a lifestyle of patience and endurance. We do it because God is patient with us; we do it because it is the example Jesus Christ set for us; we do it because we can see the example set by believers throughout history.

Now, we see yet another reason and motivation to exercise patience in our lives, even in the face of trials and adversity. God blesses those who endure these things patiently. We have seen the end of the Lord; in other words, God has a good outcome planned for those who endure patiently.

There is probably no greater story in all of Scripture about patient endurance than the story of Job in the Old Testament.

Read Job here.

Job was tested more than any man we see in the Bible. Reading the history, we can see some of the reasons why God tested Job, and they line up quite well with some of the things James is teaching us in his Epistle.

To test Job’s faith and prove the reality of it.

To divert Satan’s evil plans.

To make Job’s faith stronger.

To bless Job.

We can see this now, but poor Job had no idea of God’s plan. He just simply endured. Job lost his family, his possessions, and his health. Job lost everything. Job may have questioned God and asked why, but he never lost his faith or love for God. What happened in the end?

Job 42:10-17 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days.

Paul also recognized that those who endure patiently are the recipients of God’s favor. Does anyone recall the thorn in Paul’s side? God did not remove that thorn; Paul merely endured it, using strength provided by God to do so.

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

In our above examples, we see a couple of different outcomes coming as a result of patience. Job, as we see, was physically and materially blessed for demonstrating patience in the Lord. It’s very important to note, however, that there is no promise of material blessings as a result of patience. God is not a cosmic candy machine who will give us stuff if we just put in the coin marked patience.

Note that Paul didn’t get anything material as a result of his patience and waiting for God. Paul got grace; Paul simply received the strength through the Holy Spirit to endure and live with his particular affliction.

The point is, God’s promises are good and they are guaranteed. If we do His work, in His way, in His time, we will be blessed. It may be now, it may be later, but He guarantees it. Are we resting in that guarantee?

Faith In Action-Don’t Hold a Grudge

faith in action

James 5:9

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

It may seem that, as we head towards the finishing section of The Epistle of James, that James is bouncing around some from subject to subject. He introduces a new topic or two but also seems to be recapping some of the territories he covered in the first four chapters.

In this verse, James seems to be reviewing some of the thoughts he had and points he made earlier in his writing, as again he is teaching about the ways in which we treat one another. He also seems to be tying in this thought with some of the thoughts earlier on the impending judgment. It almost seems James is saying, “Ok, now remember just a minute ago I was telling you that you will be judged for how you treat your money? Well, do you remember how we talked about being mean and holding grudges? Well, guess what? We will be judged for that too!”

The word here, grudge, is used in an interesting way. Apparently, in other places in The New Testament, it is translated to sigh and groan, and really just means the outward expression of a person who is troubled. When we see it combined in reference to how we engage with another person, it translates somewhat in the sense of murmuring and grumbling. Here, I will repeat something I have said before. I am NOT a Greek linguist; however, sometimes just digging a little in the original language pays really big dividends.

Conflict is inevitable. In any situation where more than one person is gathered, there will be differences. God made us different. People disagree and James is not teaching that to disagree is inherently bad. What, then, is he teaching?

It’ simple really. We are not to murmur, gripe and hold grudges against our brothers and sisters in Christ over our disagreements. Is this a serious matter? Well, The Holy Spirit inspired James to write clearly about the judgment in this matter. The judge is standing at the door, and condemnation for our attitude is looming.

This seems a good place to insert a comment made once by a friend:

“Kinda hard to ‘draw nigh’ if I’m carrying a backpack of slander eh?”

That’s a good place to close and something to think about.

Faith In Action-Establish Your Hearts

faith in action

James 5:8

Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

James here continues his teaching to the scattered believers to be patient in the face of trials and adversity, and to be patient and understanding that God has things under control.

He instructs them to stablish their hearts. Some translations use the word strengthen here. This word translated means to “make fast,””to establish,”or “to confirm.” What is it they are to establish their hearts in? They are to establish them in the hope and promise of The Lord’s return. The same word was used in Luke 9:51 as Jesus set his face steadfastly to return to Jerusalem, the entire time knowing that his death would result.

The believers James was writing to were facing intense persecution, trials, and troubles. We have seen quite a bit of discussion of that in the previous chapters. James is simply attempting to teach them to remember the basic fact that God has these trials, and all other things, firmly under his control. He wants them to understand that what they face in this life pales in comparison with the glory they will experience in God’s Kingdom in the future.

The gist of this lesson seems obvious, as James uses terms such as patience, endurance, and perseverance over and over in this section of his writing.

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Imagine, if you can, the patience and suffering Job endured as he watched his life shatter before his very eyes, yet he never lost his faith or love for God. Imagine, if you can, the patience of the Old Testament prophets as they preached to deaf ears and endured hate and persecution, yet they never lost their faith or love for God.

This lesson certainly applies to us. Perhaps it is more applicable to us, in the sense that compared to the believers of James’ time, Job, or the Old Testament prophets we really endure so little? How do we endure so little, yet as a church seem to have so little faith and love for God?

Faith In Action-Waiting for the Lord

faith in action

James 5:7

 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

James seems to be getting back on track here after what some consider to be a temporary diversion from counseling believers on Christian behavior. Clearly, now, he is back to talking to believers in the churches he wrote this letter to.

It is possible that his guidance over the next few verses was written in response to the things which had apparently happened to these believers in the previous ones. Guidance to those facing trials and hardships, and the ways we deal with them, is a recurring theme in the writing of James. We first saw James addressing patience in the face of adversity way back in James 1:4.

The way writers like James put things into a language that his readers would instantly understand is very fascinating. In this case, James uses another agricultural reference to teach just how patient his readers should be. He also teaches in this description about the importance of both patience and proper timing. Of course, God’s timing is the actual reference, but proper timing is key.

In the agricultural season in the land at that time, two periods of rain were essential to a successful growing season. The early rains came in October or November around the beginning of the Fall planting season to help ensure the ground was ready for planting. The late rains would come in the March and April time frame, to provide a last dose of moisture prior to the harvesting season.

Just like the farmer knows that if he is patient, his crops will come, James is encouraging these believers to stand firm in the promises of God to come one day. Paul wrote similar encouraging words to the believers in the church at Galatia.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

What else can we learn from this passage? We can learn that not everything happens on our timing. In this case, we can learn that, as the crops come according to biological timing, God’s plans come according to God’s timing.

Another thing we can learn here is that we are not in control of everything. The farmer certainly cannot make his crops do anything. They will do what they do, as long as the Farmer has done his part. That is very much the same as God, who will do His part as long as we do our part.

Faith In Action-Who Our Wealth Belongs To

faith in action

James 5:2,3

Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.


Read all of James Chapter 5 here

Today we will recap some thoughts on money. It only seems fair, since God puts some emphasis on the subject, that we do as well. What have we covered so far?

God does not oppose wealth; in fact, He often blesses individuals with it.

God does not oppose planning wisely for the future.

God does not expect us to socialistically redistribute our wealth to the segments of society who don’t have as much as we do.

He does expect us to use our blessings to aid others as individuals and churches.

God does oppose the useless and selfish hoarding of our wealth.

It might seem confusing, then, what God expects us to do with our wealth and riches. The answer is actually quite simple, and it has two parts.

Part one. It’s actually NOT ours; it is His. If we have it, it is only because He gave it to us and allowed us to have it.

Part two. Like our lives in general, God wants us to do one simple thing with any wealth we might have: His wishes and for His honor and glory.

God’s plan for our money is the same as His plan for our lives in general. There is no one answer, as His plan for each life is different. They key is that we simply remember that it is His, and His will concerning it is what counts.

1 Chronicles 29:3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,

Mark 12:42-44 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Galatians 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

2 Corinthians 9:4-14 Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Let’s recap. It’s God’s money, not ours; we are only His stewards for it. Even though He may bless us with it for our enjoyment, it is primarily for His use: Furthering His work, winning the lost, caring for those who need caring for, and supporting the ministry of Our Lord. In short, whatever God calls you to do with it.

Faith In Action-Cleanse and Purify Ourselves

faith in action

James 4:8

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.


Read James Chapter 4 here

We are still talking about God’s offer of grace to help us work through the conflicts which arise among us, and some steps we can take to appropriate, or take full advantage of that grace. We have talked about submission to God, resisting the Devil, and drawing near to God. The next section has to do with how we approach the topic of sin in our lives.

Sin, if we are unsaved, has separated us from God; the only way that relationship can be restored is, of course, through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Even for those who are saved, sin in our lives can interfere with our daily fellowship and communion with God. That is why it matters that we come to God with clean hearts and minds.

We can see the beginnings of this thought back in the priestly system of the Old Testament when the priests washed their hands and feet in the bronze basin before approaching God in the Tabernacle. Exodus 30:17-21. Even James seems to be drawing from the Old Testament when he teaches us this lesson.

Psalm 24:3,4 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

The word “purify” carries the meaning and usage in the Greek of the day,”to make chaste.” That is an interesting usage when compared to the earlier discussion of James 4:4 of adulterers and adulteresses. There does seem to be a strong parallel between the idea of being spiritual adulterers and that of presenting ourselves as chaste to The Lord.

And, finally, we see the idea of being “double minded.” This would be a reference it seems to people vacillating between their allegiances. Are we friends with God, or friends with the world? Are we chaste and loyal or are we spiritual adulterers?

A final question is appropriate. If we are saved, are we daily washing in the forgiveness of our sins through the power of the Holy Spirit? Are we washing our hearts and minds so that God will give us the daily grace to overcome the obstacles in our lives? More importantly in terms of washing is this question: have you been permanently washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ for the eternal forgiveness of your sin?

Faith In Action-Draw Nigh To God

faith in action

James 4:8

 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.


Read James Chapter 4 here

 As we covered earlier, God has provides sufficient grace for us to overcome the obstacles we face, in this case, particularly the conflicts we face among ourselves. But, we do have to claim or appropriate that grace. First, we submit to God. Next, we resist the Devil. The next item in our list is to draw near to God because in so doing He will then draw near to us.

We draw near to God by our worship of Him. We can seem some Old Testament examples of this from the Priests.

Exodus 19:22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.

Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

Today, of course, we have a High Priest in the form of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the writer of Hebrews had this to say while writing about the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus:

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

To draw near to God, we have to be like God. A.W Tozer wrote a book entitled “Nearness is Likeness.” The following quote is from that book.

The more we are like God, the nearer we are to God.  I many be sitting in my living room with my Siamese cat on my lap, and my wife may be twenty feet away in the kitchen, yet I am nearer to my wife than to the cat because the cat is unlike me. We have very little in common.

How much do we have in common with God? How near to Him are we?

Faith In Action-Let’s Get Sad Over Sin

faith in action

James 4:9

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.


Read James Chapter 4 here

 Is James telling us here to be sad, sober, gloomy faced Christians? Just a cursory reading of that might lead us to believe that way. But, that is not what James is saying at all.

As always, we have to look at anything we read in God’s Word in light of the context in which it appears. James is still talking about God’s grace for our daily lives and how we can best get our hands on it so to speak.  He has just finished teaching about making ourselves pure in heart and mind to properly approach God. Now he is simply talking about our attitude toward sin.

Sin in our lives should make us sad. We should be distressed and upset about the sin in our lives, as an affront to a Holy God. In other words, we should certainly never take joy, or rejoice in, our iniquities.

Remember David, repenting over his sin with Bathsheeba? He recognized that the true sin was not against even the man he had murdered, but against God. We see this in Psalm 51, when David prayed to God, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” Paul even instructed the Corinthian Church this way in the great Love Chapter, when he issued this instruction,  love “Rejoiceth not in iniquity

If we even pause for a moment to consider how our sin came to be paid for, we could never be anything but sad about it. A great, great price was paid to cover the debt of our sin. Because of the price Jesus paid on The Cross, our sin should never be something to rejoice over, but should cause us much grief.

There is a song which captures well the attitude believers should have over sin in their lives.

Feel The Nails By Ray Boltz

They tell me Jesus died
For my transgressions
And that He paid that price
A long, long time ago

When He gave His life for me
On a hill called Calvary
But there’s something else
I want to know

Does He still feel the nails
Every time I fail?
Does He hear the crowd cry
Crucify, again?

Am I causing Him pain?
Then I know I’ve got to change
I just can’t bear the thought
Of hurting Him

It seems that I’m so good
At breaking promises
And I treat His precious grace
So carelessly

But each time He forgives
What if He relives
The agony He felt on that tree?

Does He still feel the nails
Every time I fail?
Does He hear the crowd cry
Crucify, again?

Am I causing Him pain?
Then I know I’ve got to change
I just can’t bear the thought
Of hurting Him

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord

Do you still feel the nails
Every time I fail?
Have I crucified you, Jesus
With my sin?

I’m tired of playing games
I really want to change
I never want to hurt You again

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord

As an added bonus here is my lovely Bride singing that very song.

Faith In Action-Resist the Devil

faith in action

James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


Read James Chapter 4 here

Earlier we talked about submission to God as a thing which must be done willingly and voluntarily. Now James tells us that there is something else we must do, and that is to resist the Devil. Now it is time for another short grammar lesson! In this case, the term “resist” is an imperative. There is the implication that nothing passive is going on here, but that we are being directed to actively and purposely resist the temptations of the Devil. In other words, there are actions we can and should take to resist.

This theme of active resistance to the Devil appears elsewhere in God’s Word. The Apostle Peter had something to say about it himself.

1 Peter 5:8,9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

What things do we need to do in order to resist the Devil?

Put on the full armor of God as contained in Ephesians 6:8-10

Prepare with the Word of God as our Lord Jesus Christ did during his temptations in the desert.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve

After that, in Verse 11 we see that Satan left from the presence of Jesus. This clearly teaches that in the face of a person well prepared with the Word of God, the Devil will flee.

To resist the devil, we must pray. John 15:7; 1 John 5:14,15; Ephesians 6:18.

Our adversary, Satan, is very powerful. He is certainly more powerful than the individual Christian. We are called and directed to resist him, but notice that it is never by our own strength that we resist. We rely on God’s armor, God’s Word, and prayer TO God for our strength in this battle. If we resist the Devil with those things as our arsenal, Satan will have no choice but to flee.

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