All Posts Tagged: James
“It’s like a man going on a trip.
He called his servants and loaned them money
to invest for him while he was gone.”
The belly button marks the place at which the nutritional “life line” from your mother was attached to you. This permanent scar is a reminder of a profound truth: life is a GIFT! Grace is given to us through Jesus (the umbilical cord) (Means of Life) so that we are enabled to achieve the purpose for which the Creator designed us. (Maker of Life)
Fundamentally, Father loans you three commodities: Time, Talent and Treasure. “It’s like a man going on a trip. He called his servants and loaned them money to invest for him while he was gone” (Matthew 25:14)
TIME! How many days will you live? Obviously, you don’t know! What you do know is this: when you wake up in the morning, your “alive–ness” is a gift.“ Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it will be spent. (Carl Sandburg))” So, “teach us to use wisely all the time we have” ( Psalm 90:12)
TALENT! Consider your unique personality and talent mix. Did you purchase it/them at Niemen Marcus? Here’s what the Manual says: “You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13) “God didn’t have time to make a nobody, only a somebody. I believe that each of us has God-given talents within us waiting to be brought to fruition.” (Mary Kay Ash)
TREASURE! Much advertising appeals to our sense of entitlement. “You’ve work long and hard! You deserve this!” However, a smidgen of honesty reveals the truth. Yes, we work hard; but with the time and talent that have grace-fully been given! “Every good endowment that we possess and every complete gift that we have received comes from the Father above” (Psalm 139:13) “Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)
“Sometime later the master returned and called them to give an account of how they had used his money”. (Matthew 25:19) As with any financier, Father wants a return on His investment. How’s your account in His portfolio?
Here’s a challenge: page through some of your Owner’s Manuals associated with energized products. Everyone will contain warnings about the product. Furthermore, you will discover that the quantity and strength of the warnings is proportional to the danger in using the product. The cover of my chain saw manual reads: “WARNING: Read and follow all Safety Rules and Operating Instructions before using this product. Failure to do so can result in serious injury!” In 21 pages the word “WARNING” appears 30 times. While the chain saw is an exceedingly beneficial tool for cutting trees, it’s also extremely dangerous! Yes, I know from experience!
So, the Bible contains many warnings about humans! Here’s an example: “A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, and send the whole world up in smoke. This is scary! With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in His image!
Who is more qualified to speak about the power of a product, both for good and ill, than the inventor? On September 27, 1905, Albert Einstein published what would become the world’s most famous equation: E = mc2. At the time he alone understood the power of the atom. So, not surprisingly he issued this warning: “When men are engaged in war and conquest the tools of science become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child.”
So, our Creator warns: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.
Some men came, bringing to Jesus a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” (Mark 2:1-7)
We know little about the people in this episode. One man was paralyzed, unable to get to Jesus. He had four male friends that would literally do anything to get him to Jesus. (Today, they would have been arrested for B&E.) The shocker of the incident is Jesus’ words: “When Jesus saw THEIR faith….” One man’s healing was rooted in the faith of four others. What do you make of that? Isn’t faith a very personal matter … like between me and Jesus?
Obviously, faith is personal. To a blind man Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52). But, apparently faith is also corporate in nature—“When Jesus saw their faith….” The Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:30-31). The disciple community offers the same evidence. If Peter wanted to follow Jesus, he had to walk with Matthew, the despised tax collector. So, to state it profoundly, there are no “Lone Ranger Christians!”
Seriously, what shall we make of this faith phenomenon? Let’s return to the foundation! After the Creator pronounced seven “goods” we read this startling statement: “It is not good for the male person to be alone.” The human spirit was fabricated for fellowship. Furthermore, whereas in our dis-eased condition we pretend that we’re solitarily invincible, the truth is that we need another more than ever. Of the Gethsemane experience we are told: “Becoming anguished and distressed, Jesus said to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me’” (Mark 14:33-34). And then this: “At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, ‘My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?’” (Mark 15:34).
Now this fact becomes understandable: there are no less than 59 “One Anothers” in the New Testament. Here are a few examples: “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2), “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16), “…Build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The point is this: as with the original Twelve the journey of faith is built upon the foundation of community, of togetherness, of one another-ness!
“When Jesus saw their faith ….” Faith and Friends! They go together like “peas and carrots”!
Check back as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.
Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.
Peter said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. “You have so little faith.” When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down. The eleven in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You really are the Son of God!” (Matthew 14:28-34)
The contrast couldn’t be more striking! Peter acted—jumped out and walked. Yes, he had “so little faith.” The eleven sat and paid lip service. Their faith is not mentioned. The point is obvious: faith functions. It operates. It acts. It moves. It works. It empowers. The great Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11, provides evidence.
- By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God …
- By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely …
- By an act of faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land …
- By an act of faith, Abraham traveled to an unknown place …
- By an act of faith Abraham offered Isaac back to God …
- By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months…
- By an act of faith, Moses chose a hard life with God’s people …
- By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground …
- By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies …
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” (James 2:16-17)
Here’s up-to-date evidence—“Twelve Christians have been brutally executed by the Islamic State, including the 12-year-old son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had planted nine churches, because they refused to renounce the name of Jesus Christ and embrace Islam. The martyrs were faithful to the very end; right before one woman was beheaded by the terror group, she appeared to be smiling slightly as she said, ‘Jesus’!”
Check back next Friday as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.