Weekly Devotional – The Prayer of Faith

James 5:13-20

In this section of James, we are going to talk about the most important and most powerful tool we have other than God’s Word. This tool is used in accordance with our relationship with God. How well we know God’s word, and how often we use this tool will determine how effective it is. Of course, we are talking about prayer. We are not talking about just any prayer; we are talking about the “Prayer of Faith.”

James used a series of questions followed by commands as an effective way of exhorting the congregation to prayer and worship. A fitting climax to James’ letter is his emphasis on prayer. The greatest assistance any believer can offer another is faithful prayer. Prayer is clear evidence of care. Prayer is the “hotline” to the One who can provide for any need no matter how complex or impossible it may seem. To share in prayer, a believer must have a sensitivity to someone’s needs, engage in diligent supplication for those needs, and recognize the significance of those needs.

  • James asked if anyone was suffering. James wasn’t talking about suffering pain due to illness. We know this because of his next question. What James was referring to was a type of suffering caused by a bad decision concerning our spiritual life.

Jesus Christ bore the grief and sorrows of humanity as the culmination of the “sufferings,” which is “pathēma” in Greek, begun by Adam’s sin (1 Pet. 2:24).

Throughout the centuries Christians have referred to Jesus’ sufferings as His Passion. Before Jesus experienced His “passion,” He told His disciples that they would encounter many trials and sorrows for His sake (John 16:33). Paul taught that entrance to the kingdom of God comes with many tribulations (Acts 14:22), which must not shake a Christian’s faith (1 Thess. 3:3). They are to be understood rather as a finishing up of the remainder of Christ’s suffering for His body, the church (2 Cor. 4:10-11; Col. 1:24).

The Bible says affliction will grow more intense as “the end” approaches (Matt. 24:9-14; 2 Tim. 3:13). Don’t allow these sufferings and troubles to turn you away from God. I know several who hate God because of losing a loved one, they want to know why God killed their baby, He didn’t. They want to know why God allowed their spouse to die, He didn’t.

Many preachers who are not well versed in the bible, and teachers also, have given them this impression of God. God does not steal, kill or test anyone. We are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) and God passed on to us His free will. As such, God cannot interfere with that free will. It is the wrong decisions we make that cause these things.

  • Is anyone sick? Call the Elders. Elders, who functioned in various capacities in the early church, should anoint any sick person with olive oil and pray over him. Olive oil was considered a cure-all ointment in the ancient world, but for James, the real healing power is in prayer.

The prayer of faith echoes James 1:5-8. The word save refers to physical healing (Mark5:23,28,34; 10:52; John 11:12). The Lord will restore the person to health does not indicate that death is at hand, but that once healed by the power of God the sick person could get up and walk (Mt 9:5-7; Mk 1:31; 2:9-12; 9:27; Ac 3:7).

He will be forgiven indicates that perhaps the illness was connected with sin, such as drunk driving, and the prayers of the elders could bring spiritual healing as well. If the person confesses their trespasses as James indicates in verse 16 and repents of them, God will welcome them into the church.

Weekly Devotional – June 26, 2021

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV) “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.”

When trying to find a new church, always talk to the preacher and your teacher away from other people, before you attend their church if you can. Ask them why they started preaching or teaching. If their answer is not, “God called me to do so” then always challenge anything they do that involves the receiving of money.

There are wolves in sheep’s clothing in the church now. Ask God for guidance and be careful.

By the way, “God called me to teach/preach His word.”

Judgement is not within the scope of our duties as Christians, that is God’s job and his only. However, that does not mean we can’t see someone that is using God’s word or service for their own gain.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

There is nothing that happens here on this earth that is not covered in the bible, you just need to find it. And make sure you understand it before using it on someone else. Why do you think ministers and teachers have to study all their lives?

The scriptures are a living thing that will change with the situation. In March 2020, this world became united in a way they would have never expected. It was the start of Covid 19. It was so bad we had to stop gathering in the church building for over a year. However, the church went on and still thrives today. Christ is the head of the church, not some preacher or teacher.  It is God that keeps our spiritual spirit alive, not some singer or music director. The church belongs to God, not some association or religion.

As I have said many times, Christianity is a way of life, not a religion. Christians know how to listen and follow God’s guidance. No matter what is going on in this world, the Holy Spirit will help us study God’s word and use it to lift up our hearts and keep us doing God’s Will.

A Christian will always use the bible to navigate their day. Religions do anything they want to do and misuse the scripture to twist it until they think it makes them look good.

How about you; do you use religious beliefs to make you soul look Good to God. Do you have the Holy Spirit living in your heart? Are you someone who studies the bible daily and you walk in a way that everyone can see Christ in you?

Religious people display the same fruit as the world. Christians display Christ in their actions at all times.

Which are you, religious or a Christian?

You will know them by their fruits!!

Weekly Word Definition – Hallowed

Definition of Hallowed:

Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.

To render sacred, to consecrate (Ex 28:38; Ex 29:1). This word is from the Saxon, and properly means “to make holy.” The name of God is “hallowed”, i.e., is reverenced as holy (Mat 6:9).

A prayer in the Bible commonly known as the Lord’s prayer contains the phrase, “Hallowed be Your name,” but what does hallowed mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines hallowed as, “sanctified; consecrated; highly venerated; sacrosanct,” like the hallowed halls of a great university. To hallow is “to make or set apart as holy.

Definition of ‘hallowed’. Hallowed is used to describe something that is respected and admired, usually because it is old, important, or has a good reputation.

Hallow. to render sacred, to consecrate (Exodus 28:38; 29:1). This word is from the Saxon, and properly means “to make holy.”. The name of God is “hallowed”, i.e., is reverenced as holy (Matthew 6:9).

What does Hallowed Fire Mean? Hallowed Fire is an expression of Carlyle’s in definition of Christianity “at its rise and spread” as sacred and kindling what was sacred and divine in man’s soul and burning up all that was not.

Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

You can’t be dead and alive at the same time. If you died to sin, those sins were buried with Christ and can no longer be a part of your life. They are gone. Sin is no longer in your nature, because you have become part of God’s nature (2 Peter 1:4). You have become Hallowed!!

Colossians 1:21-23 (NKJV)

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight; if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Because of the death of the only Begotten Son of God, who died on the cross for Our sins, the grace of God was extended to us through faith in Christ. God will only extend that Grace one time. Christ can’t die again so it was a one-time good deal!

God has reconciled us through the death of Jesus on the cross that we can be presented Holy and Blameless before him.

1 Peter 1:13-15 (NKJV)

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,

It is not that Christ stands between us and God so God can’t see our sins, it is that we change our lives through our faith in Christ, so God sees the Holy Spirit living in us (John 14:17).

Weekly Word Definition – Effectual Prayer

Effectual Prayer

Occurs in Authorized Version, Jas 5:16. The Revised Version renders appropriately: “The supplication of a righteous man avails much in its working”, i.e., “it moves the hand of Him who moves the world.” Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Effectual Calling From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Effectual calling (or effective calling) in Calvinist Christian soteriology is a stage in the ordo salutis in which God calls a person to himself. It relates to, but different from external calling, in which a person hears the gospel message.

Wayne Grudem suggests that it is a summons from the King of the universe that has “such power that it brings about the response that it asks for in people’s hearts.” Grudem appeals to the story of Lydia: according to Acts 16:14, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (NIV).

Effectual Adjective

(of something inanimate or abstract) successful in producing a desired or intended result; effective.

Synonyms:   effective · successful · efficacious · productive · constructive · fruitful · potent · powerful · worthwhile · helpful · of help · of assistance · beneficial · advantageous · valuable · useful · of use

Society and the Christian Churches all seem to get lost in the word effectual. However, there are two other word there that “we” Christians seem to overlook.

The first word is fervent. It is the next word in the sentence. The word means to be passionate about your prayer. You should want your prayer answered so badly, you are willing to do anything in return.

The second word is righteous. According to this verse of scripture, it is not the person you are praying for that needs to be righteous, it must be you that is righteous.

To be righteous, you must be virtuous and upright. You must be decent and principled.

When and only when you attain this “righteous” state in your heart, you can pray and effectual prayer for your brother or sister in Christ. James 5:16.

Are your prayers effectual? If not, why?

Weekly Word Definition – Prayer

The word for this week is “Prayer”

A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God. Oxford Dictionary

An address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought. Merriam – Webster

In the Bible “prayer” is used in a simpler and a more complex a narrower and a wider signification. In the former case, it is supplication for benefits either for one’s self (petition) or for others (intercession). In the latter, it is an act of worship which covers all soul in its approach to God. Supplication is at the heart of it, for prayer always springs out of a sense of need and a belief that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). But adoration and confession and thanksgiving also find a place, so that the suppliant becomes a worshipper. It is unnecessary to distinguish all the various terms for prayer that are employed in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the fact should be noticed that in the Hebrew and Greek aloe there are on the one hand words for prayer that denote a direct petition or short, sharp cry of the heart in its distress (Psalm 30:2; 2 Cor. 12:8), and on the other “prayers” like that of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10), which is in reality a song of thanksgiving, or that of Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, in which intercession is mingled with doxology (Eph. 3:14-21). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

There are four things all Christians must know about prayer.

To have a good prayer life, you must have a good relationship with God. To obtain the good relationship, you must study God’s word and learn His will.

Be humble and contrite, God will be willing and generous.

Christian Word Definition: Prayer

The Definition for this week: Prayer

A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God. Oxford Dictionary

An address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought. Merriam – Webster

In the Bible “prayer” is used in a simpler and a more complex a narrower and a wider signification. In the former case, it is supplication for benefits either for one’s self (petition) or for others (intercession). In the latter, it is an act of worship which covers all soul in its approach to God. Supplication is at the heart of it, for prayer always springs out of a sense of need and a belief that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). But adoration and confession and thanksgiving also find a place, so that the suppliant becomes a worshipper. It is unnecessary to distinguish all the various terms for prayer that are employed in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the fact should be noticed that in the Hebrew and Greek alone there are on the one hand words for prayer that denote a direct petition or short, sharp cry of the heart in its distress (Psalm 30:2; 2 Cor. 12:8), and on the other “prayers” like that of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10), which is in reality a song of thanksgiving, or that of Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, in which intercession is mingled with doxology (Eph. 3:14-21).

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

There are four things all Christians must know about prayer.

To have a good prayer life, you must have a good relationship with God. To obtain the good relationship, you must study God’s word and learn His will.

Be humble and contrite, God will be willing and generous.

And I Will Pray the Father

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:15-16 (NKJV)

Tom Brewster was in his mid-20’s when he surrendered to God. It happened at a Sunday night service one summer. The pastor immediately assigned someone to disciple Tom and help him on his path to being a good Christian.

There are many who believe that a person who surrenders to God is automatically a self-sufficient Christian and can go out in the community and preach to the multitudes. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are also some church congregations that believe a person receives the Holy Spirit when they are saved. The bible proves all this wrong and teaches us a vastly different truth. It is a lot of hard work and spiritual expectation to become a Christian.

When the pastor assigned one of the deacons to tutor Tom about the bible, he made a very profound statement, he said, “Becoming a Christian is not automatic. Becoming a Christian is hard work and patience. It’s not about how much you know about the bible; it is more about how much you show concerning your walk with God.”

Tom was confused. When the pastor saw his confusion, he changed his method of teaching. The pastor looked at Tom and stated, “In versed 15-16, there are 5 statements of things you as a believer must do to achieve just the firs level of belief.”

The pastor then broke down the verses in this manner.

  1. If you love me:  What does it mean to love Crist? To love Christ is to have the same love He had for us. We must remember that Christ loved us so much; He was willing to be hanged on a cross because he loved us. That type of love must be returned in kind.
  2. Keep My Commandments: God has given us a set of commandments that we must follow. These commandments are for our benefit and are non-negotiable.
  3. And I Will Pray the Father. Christ took it upon Himself to ask the Father to help us. Christ asked for nothing for Himself, He asked for help for the Believers that have turned their lives over to Him. Not physical help, but spiritual help.
  4. And He will give you another helper. Just think about how much God loves us.
    1. He Created us to be our friend
    2. He gave us a physical helper (a wife)
    3. He gave his only son to die for us
    4. Then He gave us another helper (The Holy Spirit our spiritual helper). The Spirit lives in us and is there whenever we need him.
    5. And through all this, He gave us each other to love.

There are many people who promote the idea that God has a magic wand that he uses when we need something. Nothing could not be farther from the truth.

When God gave us the church, it wasn’t to get together each Sunday and sing songs. He gave us a meeting place that we could gather and praise God for loving us enough to give us the opportunity to help each other.

When Christ was feeding the multitudes, He furnished the fish and bread, but it did not rain down from above, it was handed out by the disciples.

When we need it, God will always give us money or physical things through the church. God doesn’t use a magic wand, He uses His disciples

If you want to become a Christian, you must love God with all your heart. You must walk with God, work for God, and give your testimony by the way you live your life.

A Christian is Christ like; therefore, everyone must see Christ in you. AMEN!!

With All Your Heart and Soul

But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Joshua 22:5

It was God’s love and mercy that led the children of Israel to the land that God had promised their ancestor, Abraham, and His power that assisted their victory. When Joshua told them to go home, they gathered their spoils and headed home.

As Christians, we can experience God’s Love and power every day. We can ask God to lead us to victory over our enemies and We can see firsthand the loving way God leads us and the power of God’s word. If you have a question about life, all you need to do is pray and God will make it happen.

To us today, prayer is the key to unlock God’s love and power. Prayer must be prayed to God in the name of Jesus Christ. Prayer must be prayed for the correct reasons and must be prayed from a heart that belongs to God.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:16 (NKJV)

There are many preachers and teachers today that tell the congregation what they want to hear so the money will flow their way. The truth is, God don’t hear a sinner’s prayer. God listens to the righteous. The righteous are those who do God’s will every day and put sin out of their lives.

Many will misquote the bible and tell you it is ok or natural to sin every day. It’s Not! However, if you should sin, God has made a way. Go to one of your fellow Christians and tell them of your sin and allow “them” to pray on your behalf.

God loves you and wants what is best for you. God will forgive you if you sin occasionally. However, sinning daily is not occasionally. That is practicing sin.

Look at it from God’s perspective. If you fill your day with sin, you won’t have time to do God’s will. You won’t have time to experience God’s love. You won’t have the time to properly care for you family, study the bible, and you lose the right to pray.

Now look at what God can do. If you study the bible, God can speak to you and lead your daily walk. If you live the bible every day, God can use you to bring others to salvation. If your heart is right with God and you pray for someone else, God will hear that prayer and act on it. God can show His love to other through you.

Try to live each day so others can see “Christ in you.”

God Will Give You Rain

The voice stated, “You didn’t ask me for a Chevrolet, you asked me for a car.

And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 (NKJV)

Many years ago, I heard a preacher talking. He said that one year his car quit. There was no way to fix the car.

The preacher needed the car to visit the sick and needy in the community. Without the car, the preacher could not go to the meetings that required his presence. So, the preacher got on his knees and prayed. The preacher asked God to help him in his time of need. He asked God to help him get a car. He was not asking for a new car, just something dependable.

About a week later, a man that had not been coming to their church for very long gave the secretary the keys to a nice Cadillac. The next day the preacher got on his knees and thanked God for the car. While he was praying, the man mentioned that a less expensive car would have been better.

Suddenly the preacher heard a very plain voice. The voice stated, “You didn’t ask me for a Chevrolet, you asked me for a car.

Christ tells us in Matthew 6:8-13 all the things we need to pray for. There are times we need to thank God for specific things. There are times we need to ask God for specific things, so we simply add these things to the list Christ gave us to pray.

The point Christ was trying to make was that we need to be specific about our needs and make sure we are not asking for something God has already promised to give us.

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 14:13-14 (NKJV)

Many people will not like what I have to say about this verse of scripture. All I ask is that you study the bible for yourself and let the Love of God tell you the truth as it is written in the bible.

Satan loves the fact that he has deceived so many people over the years as to who they should pray to. Yes, satan has not only deceived people, but he has also deceived preachers and large church organizations about this subject.

I have studied prayer from Genesis 1-1 to Revelations 22:21 and I have only found one scripture that tells us who we should pray in the name of. According to the bible, we should pray in the name of Jesus Christ when we pray to God our Father in Heaven.

When your priest or preacher gives the sermon on Sunday morning, make sure they give you the scripture reference. Go home and study the scripture and see if it matches what the preacher/priest has said.

If you find some discrepancy in the sermon, gather your family, and tell them about it. Do not be deceived.

Christ tells us through the bible to pray to God (not some person) and to reference His name only.

Don’t feel bad, Satan tried to deceive Christ. Christ knew the bible and when satan misquoted the scriptures, Christ corrected him. You must do the same if you want your prayers to be answered.

If you pray to anyone but God, if you pray in the name of anyone but Christ, your prayers won’t even reach the ceiling.

The Love of God is a great thing; however, we must follow His commands. AMEN!!!