James 5:16–18 ESV
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
Prayer changes things. It can even change the course of nature as Elijah’s prayer did. In other words, it can create miracles. God is not limited by anything. Why do we pray as though we think he can only operate within the laws of nature?
James 4:7–8 ESV
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.—————————————
Resist the devil and enjoy the freedom from his awful, obnoxious presence. Draw near to God and experience the ecstasy of being near to the loving God and the thrill of his dynamic power flowing through you. This will cleanse your hands from doing evil and purify your heart from double-mindedness (remaining desire for the old life you had before coming to Christ). Instead, you will be all out for God.
James 3:17–18 ESV
The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
May we show forth this wisdom in our attitudes and actions.
James 2:18 ESV
Someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
It has been well established in Christian theology that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works. We cannot earn or merit our salvation. But if we have faith our works will show it. In other words, if we have faith our lives will be changed. Our faith is practical. It works. God shapes our lives through our faith.
Hebrews 13:20–21 ESV
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.—————————————-
A great benediction! May we open our hearts to all of it.
Hebrews 13:8–9 ESV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings.
What a joy it is to follow the unchangeable Jesus and to trust our care to him. Jesus is sovereign God and he holds everything together by his spiritual and natural laws—by his word. As we live in him and he in us our lives are secured and stabilized by this unchanging word.
Hebrews 13:5–6 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
The sum of this passage expresses that if we love God instead of money we can confidently trust the Lord to help us in all circumstances, even when people work against us. We can each say “I will not fear what man can do to me.”
Hebrews 12:28–29 ESV
Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Earthly kingdoms can be shaken as we are witnessing in the United States. But Jesus has given his followers an unshakable kingdom, the heavenly kingdom of God. It steadily advances God’s operation to spiritually conquer the world to when “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of the Lord” (Rev 11:15). We can be sure that Jesus, the king of the kingdom, will keep his promise to secure our place in this eternal kingdom. We worship him with “reverence and awe.”
Hebrews 12:15 ESV
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
When we open our hearts to God he gives us his grace which keeps his love and forgiveness flowing—even when things go against us. When we draw back from God and things go against us we tend to get bitter. Then the bitterness grows until it causes all kinds of trouble for us and those we touch. Keep obtaining God’s grace by open-heartedly looking to him. Love is so much better than bitterness.
Hebrews 12:14 ESV
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.————————————
God is a God of peace and holiness. If we want to see him—fellowship with him, and see him help us with all our needs—then we must accept his way. We cannot operate contrary to his way and expect him to bless us. Furthermore, if we expect to see him when we pass from this life, we must have the holiness of his salvation.