Daily Archives: October 15, 2019

October 15 An Immense Blessing

Scripture Reading: James 2:20–24

Key Verse: Proverbs 18:24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

The Bible gives us many examples of friendship. God called Abraham His friend (James 2:23). Aaron and Hur stood by Moses’ side and supported his hands to ensure victory in battle (Exodus 17:12). David and Jonathan are a well-known example of friendship (1 Samuel 18).

These friendships were more than casual relationships. In the midst of difficulty or hardship, they offered support and strength for each other. When we take time to establish a deep, mutual relationship, we have someone whom we can depend on and who will stand with us no matter what we might face.

We need to be careful as we choose our friends, because they impact our lives. They bring enjoyment, delight, and pleasure. Friends can help us learn how to get along with other people, how to give and take, and how to relate more intimately. They can drive us, motivate us, disillusion us, distress us, or even destroy us.

We all want to feel accepted and loved. If you build a friendship based on a need that you have, it will not last. When the need is satisfied, you will grow weary of the friendship, or you will become dissatisfied if the need is not being met.

Take the time to build true, genuine, devoted, and loyal friendships, and your life will be immensely blessed by the effort.

Lord, the friends I choose either help anchor my faith or create barriers between You and me. Help me to choose wisely those with whom I spend my time.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 302). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

New Video: Why was Luther’s Discovery of Justification by Faith Alone such a Breakthrough? — Credo Magazine

What is justification by faith alone? Why was Luther’s discovery of justification by faith alone such a breakthrough? Was this discovery by Luther a new one? What effect does justification by faith alone have on one’s present life and the one to come? In this Credo video, Andrew Atherstone tells us how Martin Luther discovered justification by faith alone.

via New Video: Why was Luther’s Discovery of Justification by Faith Alone such a Breakthrough? — Credo Magazine

October 15 Changing People Through Prayer

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:3–12

Key Verse: Colossians 1:3

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.

Paul had a tender longing for the churches he helped to establish because he was physically separated from them by time and sheer distance. Yet he could pray for them, lifting their needs and desires to the Lord for fulfillment. You can do the same thing for loved ones, and in the process of working on their behalf God also moves in your life.

Paul’s effective prayer for the Colossian believers was characterized by three life-transforming qualities.

First, it was continuous. He said, “We have not ceased to pray for you” (Col. 1:9 nasb). As often as they came to his mind and he was stirred by love, he asked God to fill them with wisdom and a knowledge of His will.

Second, his prayer was God centered. He must have known of many particular needs, perhaps for food or clothing or protection from government interference. But Paul did not list them in detail; instead, he focused on who the Lord is and what He can do, which includes a very individual concern.

Third, in the area of God’s ability, Paul was very specific. He asked God to help them walk in a manner worthy of Christ, to hold them in obedience, to give them discernment in decisions. Those spiritual benefits apply to any situation.

Heavenly Father, make me faithful in praying for others with whom You have entrusted me spiritually. Keep them walking worthy of You. Give them discernment in their decisions, and make them obedient in their response to Your commands.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 302). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 15 When God Doesn’t Make Sense

Scripture reading: Hebrews 11:1–3

Key verse: Psalm 25:20

Keep my soul, and deliver me;

Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

If you have played the game blindman’s bluff, then you know how it feels to be led when you cannot see where you are going.

With a blindfold around your eyes, you are forced to rely completely on your guide. If he says turn right and take three steps, you turn right and take three steps. Eventually, if you listen attentively and follow all the commands as given, you arrive safely at the destination. But suppose you choose to ignore the leader. He says turn right, and you swing left instead. Very likely, you are headed for a crash; you cannot see anything, yet you walk as though you can see the path clearly.

Have you ever felt blind in your circumstances? Are you struggling to understand what is going on in your life? Just a few months ago or even yesterday, you thought you knew where you were going. Then the unforeseen occurred—an illness, an accident, a death, an unwanted job change, a relationship gone sour.

Trying to work out the situation by yourself, selecting the path that seems best in your own eyes, can lead you away from close fellowship with your Savior and obscure the blessings that He gives you when you rest in His guidance. Trust the Lord to show the way.

When the unforeseen occurs, help me trust You, Lord. Don’t let the trials of life obscure the pathway of Your will.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 302). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Corrupt Dems Change Impeachment Rules AGAIN – Closed-Door Interviews Now Considered ‘Depositions’ to Limit One Attorney Asking Questions Per Round — The Gateway Pundit

The crooked Democrats just changed the rules again in their sham impeachment inquiry.

The Dems have now shifted the closed-door interviews to depositions in order to limit the questioning to one attorney per round.

Also, if the Democrat-controlled committees issues subpoenas, it changes things from a transcribed interview to a deposition.

The Democrats are doing this to avoid releasing transcripts of the depositions/interviews conducted in secret.

Adam Schiff and other crooked Democrats can also selectively leak to the media without having to answer to transcripts as proof of their deception.

Fox News Congress reporter Chad Pergram on Tuesday revealed the shady changes by the House Democrats.

PERGRAM: Closed door interviews for impeachment probe are now considered depositions. More restrictions surrounding the material, like an interview. Depositions limit 1 attorney to asking questions per round. If cmtes issue subpoenas, it moved from a transcribed interview to a deposition

Update: Chad Pergram released more information on impeachment inquiry depositions:

The Dems are trying to prevent the transcripts of the depositions/interviews from being released.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) admitted on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the reason for holding secret testimonies behind closed doors is to keep President Trump and his lawyers in the dark.

And so Schiff can selectively leak to the media…

Now the Democrats are moving to change transcribed interviews to depositions so we have no way of knowing what was really said behind closed doors.

via Corrupt Dems Change Impeachment Rules AGAIN – Closed-Door Interviews Now Considered ‘Depositions’ to Limit One Attorney Asking Questions Per Round — The Gateway Pundit

Leading Evangelicals Endorse Prosperity Preacher Paula White’s New Book — Julie Roys

Paula White, the thrice married, prosperity preacher worth millions, who chairs Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board, was once considered a pariah by most all leading evangelical leaders.

Russell Moore, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in 2017 that White is “a charlatan . . . recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.” And Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary accused White of teaching that everyone can be a “little god,” and claiming that God came not to bring forgiveness of sins, but to “give us the power to claim prosperity.”

Yet this same Paula White is now receiving endorsements from prominent Southern Baptist megachurch pastors—Jack Graham and Robert Jeffress—as well as Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, and Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University.

All four are endorsing White’s new book, Something Greater: Finding Triumph Over Tragedy. Jack Graham calls his “good friend” Paula White’s book “powerful” and adds, “I highly recommend it!”

Jeffress says the book is “wonderful” and urges people to read Something Greater and “give to anyone looking for hope!”

Franklin Graham encourages people to “check out” White’s book, noting that she’s lived an “interesting life.” That may be an understatement. White has been investigated by the Senate for her lavish lifestyle. And in addition to her three marriages, televangelist Benny Hinn admitted an “inappropriate relationship” with White in 2011.

Falwell says White’s book will be “an encouragement to so many” and urged people to pre-order it at a discount.

via Leading Evangelicals Endorse Prosperity Preacher Paula White’s New Book — Julie Roys

Kardashian Culture, Kanye West, and Celebrity “Christians” — David Fiorazo

I really want to believe it. “I’m not here for your entertainment; we’re here to spread the gospel,” said Kanye West at a recent event. So, Kanye is born again? And Kim Kardashian West was baptized? Was it for show, and why should we care? Because these two alone influence hundreds of millions of people.

Throughout history, fame and fortune have left countless souls empty and miserable, so it shouldn’t surprise us when celebrities search for true meaning in life. Many just want some form of spirituality and don’t really know what they’re looking for, but remember this: no one is beyond the reach of the one true God.

Pray for them, but let’s not be too quick to put celebrities up on a pedestal. There are too many examples of famous people claiming Christianity but living or saying things that contradict what the Bible teaches.

So regardless of what you think of his support of President Trump, Kanye West seems to be sincere in his newfound faith in Jesus Christ. Only time will tell.

I’m David Fiorazo and this is Christ and Culture.

Some Christian news outlets publish stories on big name athletes or celebrities who simply mention God or talk about being blessed. This doesn’t mean they believe in Jesus. We need to take a little time and look into the beliefs, theology, and lifestyle of any public figure claiming to be Christian.

I can’t even mention some of the past disgusting song lyrics by Kanye West, many are profane and offensive. But apparently, that was then. His new project is called, “Jesus is King,” and he now says he only wants to do gospel music.

In a video of him preaching to a captive audience at one of his album listening events, he refers to himself as a recent convert. West admitted some past mistakes saying he formerly “worshiped the idea of labels, brand names; I worshiped cars, I worshiped the city I grew up in.”

West then mentioned repentance and the gospel to a captive audience, explaining that,

“The first thing Jesus said was ‘Repent.’” And added, “Imagine someone sending their only son — to die for you!”

He also talked about the fact people cannot work their way to heaven or earn salvation and quoted Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith; it is not a result of your own efforts, it’s a gift of God.”

So what are we to think? Just watch with cautious optimism. Observe his life to see if he produces good fruit. And be gracious, because we all have a past, we’ve all sinned and made mistakes along the way.

As for his wife, Kim Kardashian West, it might take a while.

Consider the media megastar and selfie queen, who became wildly rich and famous. It wasn’t from studying and receiving a degree, working hard, paying her dues, helping others; it wasn’t for some great achievement or contribution to society − but because people knew her last name thanks in part to her father, Robert Kardashian being friends with O.J. Simpson.

Kim also grew up with mega-wealthy friend, Paris Hilton, who actually hired Kardashian to assist her during a so-called reality TV show The Simple Life. But the event that sadly catapulted her to stardom, enabling her to eventually become a narcissistic role model for America’s daughters was the settlement of a $5 million lawsuit for her 2007 sex tape.

To her credit, she used the money to propel her family into stardom by producing Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and tragically, young girls have emulated her ever since. Why? Because Americans are obsessed with sex and fame. Today, she has 149 million followers on Instagram alone.

Writing in The Washington Times about why we should care, Jessica Chasmar penned an article, “Kardashian culture is killing America,” and stated:

“The Kardashian saga illustrates our nation’s moral, spiritual, and cultural decay like few other media stories do. America of 50 years ago would regard Ms. Kardashian with a mixture of disdain and pity, embarrassed by the very idea of a young lady’s most private moments being broadcast for all the world to see.”

The Kardashian family’s lust for attention and self-worship, sex and money has further polluted the soul of a nation that has forgotten its roots – and forgotten how to blush. With so much of today’s entertainment openly promoting sin, it’s no surprise American culture has gone into the gutter. But as Christians, we don’t have to consume it.

For the record, Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, and Caitlyn Jenner were named among Time Magazine’s thirty most influential people on the Internet a few years ago.

Thanks to them, mind-numbing reality TV shows have succeeded at taking advantage of a dumbed down and bored generation of people with misplaced priorities. It’s astounding these shows are on television – because people watch.

So the fact Kim is pictured wearing crosses and was baptized in an Armenian church proves little about her faith. Madonna and Lady Gaga have worn crosses as well.

Kardashian West hasn’t publicly discussed much about what she believes. Though we should be skeptical of her morality and values for obvious reasons, it appears Kanye West is on the right track.

This will be an interesting saga to keep an eye on. For example, after years of proudly showing off his curvy, uninhibited wife, he now questions some of the dresses she wears in public. Her reaction was predictable.

“I don’t need any more negative energy for you to now say that you’re not into me wearing a tight dress,” and “just because you’re on a journey, and … transformation doesn’t mean that I’m in the same spot with you.”

We may sometimes hate what America has become, but many of us were once just as lost, far from God, and without hope. We shouldn’t expect unbelievers to act as if they know God and are saved. Many celebrities think they have it all in life and don’t need anything because they are their own gods, but you and I know better.

There’s only one way to salvation. Pray they come to a knowledge of the truth before it’s too late. God bless you and keep speaking the truth about things that matter.

Video courtesy of Freedom Project Media

via Kardashian Culture, Kanye West, and Celebrity “Christians” — David Fiorazo

Jim Jordan Reacts to Hunter Biden Interview and Ongoing Schiff Impeachment Maneuvers… — The Last Refuge

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan reacts to Hunter Biden’s interview, and then outlines how Speaker Pelosi and Adam Schiff have structured the ‘impeachment inquiry’ to hide testimony that supports the administration and leak testimony to frame a narrative.

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via Jim Jordan Reacts to Hunter Biden Interview and Ongoing Schiff Impeachment Maneuvers… — The Last Refuge

Trump is on his way to an easy win in 2020, according to Moody’s accurate election model | CNBC

Yuri Gripas | Reuters

President Donald Trump looks likely to cruise to re-election next year under three different economic models Moody’s Analytics employed to gauge the 2020 race.

Barring anything unusual happening, the president’s Electoral College victory could easily surpass his 2016 win over Democrat Hillary Clinton, which came by a 304-227 count.

Moody’s based its projections on how consumers feel about their own financial situation, the gains the stock market has achieved during Trump’s tenure, and the prospects for unemployment, which has fallen to a 50-year low. Should those variables hold up, the president looks set to get another four-year term.

The modeling has been highly accurate going back to the 1980 election, missing only once.

“If the economy a year from now is the same as it is today, or roughly so, then the power of incumbency is strong and Trump’s election odds are very good, particularly if Democrats aren’t enthusiastic and don’t get out to vote,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and co-author of the paper along with Dan White, the firm’s director of government counseling and public finance research, and Bernard Yaros, assistant director and economist. “It’s about turnout.”

Three models show Trump getting at least 289 electoral votes, assuming average turnout. His chances decrease with maximum turnout on the Democratic side and increase with minimum turnout expected.

Of the three models, he does best under the “pocketbook” measure of how people feel about their finances. In that scenario, assuming average nonincumbent turnout, he gets 351 electoral votes to the generic Democrat’s 187. “Record turnout is vital to a Democratic victory,” the report states.

In the stock market model, Trump gets a 289-249 edge, while the unemployment model shows a 332-206 advantage. Across all three models, Trump wins 324-214.

“Our ‘pocket¬book’ model is the most economically driven of the three. If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition,” the report states. “This shows the importance that prevailing economic sentiment at the household level could hold in the next election.”

Stock market levels also are key, and the two are intertwined. Zandi said that even a garden-variety 12% market correction around election time could sway the race, as could an unexpected downturn in the economy.

The results might come as a surprise given Trump’s consistently low favorability ratings — 40% in the latest Gallup poll — and as most head-to-head matchups against Democrats show the president losing.

However, the report said that Trump’s relatively stable ratings help provide a good benchmark for how he will do once election time comes.

Zandi said the race could come down a few key counties in Pennsylvania, which Trump flipped in 2016 after the state had voted Democrat in the previous five presidential elections.

Specifically, he said Luzerne County, in the northeast part of the state, “is the single-most important county, no kidding, in the entire election.” The longtime Democratic stronghold favored Trump, 51.8% to 46.8% in the election.

Trump doesn’t even have to win the county, but merely needs a strong turnout, Zandi said.

The Moody’s models have been backtested to 1980 and were correct each time — except in 2016, when it indicated Clinton would win a narrow victory. The authors attributed “unexpected turnout patterns” in Trump’s favor caused the error and they adjusted for that in the latest projections. They also said the will be updating the projections as conditions develop and change.

Source: Trump is on his way to an easy win in 2020, according to Moody’s accurate election model

Franklin Graham: ‘The Left, the Socialists Have Made It Very Clear That They Stand Against the Church’ | CBNNews.com

WASHINGTON, DC – In an interview with CBN News, evangelist Franklin Graham is standing firm against the recent controversial comments by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who said he would want to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they don’t support same-sex marriage.

Graham says it’s indicative of a much broader moral slide by progressives in American politics.

“I think the Left, the socialists have made it very clear that they stand against the church,” Graham tells CBN News. “Unless we bow down and accept their agenda as it relates to the LGBTQ agenda, then they’ll take our tax exempt status, and everybody in the room cheered and clapped when he said that. And of course the other candidates clapped and cheered as well. And that just shows you where their heart is and where they’re going to go.”

Graham says this is not about being against a group of people. Instead, it’s about sharing the true freedom and hope that come from following God’s ways that are made clear in the Bible.

“I’m not anti-gay, I’m not going out speaking against gay people, fighting gay people or anything like that, but I certainly don’t want them to force their agenda on me to where I have to accept what they say is truth. It’s not. It’s a sin. And I care for gay people, love them enough to warn them that if they don’t repent and turn from their sin, God will judge them. And God will judge sin, whether we are liars or thieves, all of us are sinners and we have to repent and turn from our sin,” he explained.

“And so I want the gay and lesbian people to know that if they repent and turn from those sins, God will forgive them and heal their hearts. But I’m not going to accept it and say what they’re doing is fine. It’s not fine. It’s not fine with God and they’ll stand before him one day,” he continued.

“There will be a lot of Christians who unfortunately will bow down and give in, and many have already, and I’m just not going to do that,” he said.

You can watch more of the interview tonight on Faith Nation at 6pm ET on the CBN News Channel.

PART 2 of Our Interview: ‘I Respect His Decision’: Franklin Graham Tells CBN News Why He Won’t Second Guess Trump on Syria

Source: Franklin Graham: ‘The Left, the Socialists Have Made It Very Clear That They Stand Against the Church’

Historic Midwest Blizzard Has Farmers Seeing “Massive Crop Losses…As Devastating As We’ve Ever Seen” | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

An unprecedented October blizzard that hit just before harvest time has absolutely devastated farms all across the U.S. heartland. 

As you will see below, one state lawmaker in North Dakota is saying that the crop losses will be “as devastating as we’ve ever seen”.  This is the exact scenario that I have been warning about for months, and now it has materialized.  Due to endless rain and horrific flooding early in the year, many farmers in the middle of the country faced very serious delays in getting their crops planted.  So we really needed good weather at the end of the season so that the crops could mature and be harvested in time, and that did not happen.  Instead, the historic blizzard that we just witnessed dumped up to 2 feet of snow from Colorado to Minnesota.  In fact, one city in North Dakota actually got 30 inches of snow In the end, this is going to go down as one of the worst crop disasters that the Midwest has ever seen, and ultimately this crisis is going to affect all of us.

According to the USDA, only 15 percent of all U.S. corn and only 14 percent of all U.S. soybeans had been harvested as of October 6th

Only 58% of U.S. corn was mature as of Oct. 6 and just 15% was harvested, according to the latest data from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). North Dakota’s crop was furthest behind, with just 22% of corn mature and none harvested as of Sunday, while South Dakota’s corn was 36% mature with 2% harvested.

U.S. soybeans were only 14% harvested as of Sunday, 20 percentage points behind the average pace, USDA data showed. North Dakota and Minnesota beans were just 8% gathered while Iowa’s and South Dakota’s crop was only 5% harvested.

So that means that the vast majority of our corn and the vast majority of our soybeans were exposed to this giant storm, and the losses are going to be off the charts.

I want you to consider the next quote very carefully.  According to North Dakota state lawmaker Jon Nelson, we should expect “massive crop losses – as devastating as we’ve ever seen”

The early season snowstorm showed no mercy to some farmers and ranchers, especially in North Dakota.

“I’m expecting massive crop losses – as devastating as we’ve ever seen,” said Jon Nelson, a state lawmaker who farms several hundred acres near Rugby in north-central North Dakota.

Unharvested wheat in the region probably will be a total loss, he told the Associated Press.

Please let that last sentence sink in.

Yes, “a total loss” really does mean “a total loss”.

Millions upon millions of acres of wheat and soybeans that were about to be harvested are now completely gone.

In some parts of the state, the snow drifts are “as high as 5 feet”, and this is going to leave many farmers “without a crop to sell”

Snowdrifts in the Jamestown area rose as high as 5 feet, said Ryan Wanzek, who farms land south and west of the city. In his fields, corn and soybean crops sit unharvested after near-historic rainfall late this summer.

It’s a situation farmers across the state are facing, and without a crop to sell, Wanzek is worried many of them will run into cash flow problems.

If all this sounds “bad” to you, then you should go back and read the first part of this article again.

This isn’t just bad.  We are talking about complete and utter devastation that will have ripple effects for years to come.

Of course corn and soybeans are not the only crops that have been affected.  According to one expert, things are looking “pretty bleak” for the region’s potatoes as well…

With more than half of North Dakota’s potatoes still in the field, the outlook for harvesting a good quality crop after the latest round of rain and snowfall is poor.

“It’s pretty bleak,” said Ted Kreis, Northern Potato Growers Association marketing and communications director. As of Sunday, Oct. 6, 45 percent of North Dakota’s potato crop had been harvested, National Agricultural Statistics Service-North Dakota said. Last year, 73 percent of the state’s potato fields had been harvested by that day, the statistics service said. On average, 69 percent of the North Dakota crop is harvested as of Oct. 6.

In case you are wondering, yes, this is going to affect you very much.

Just think about what you eat on a daily basis.  How many of those items contain corn, soy or potatoes?

If you are anything like most Americans, at least one of those ingredients can be found in most of the packaged foods that you consume.

Needless to say, food prices are going to go up.  If you are wealthy and you don’t need to worry about food prices, then good for you.

But if you are like most of the country and your finances are already tight, this is going to hurt.

I very much encourage you to stock up and get prepared, because we are facing a major shift.

This was already going to be one of the worst years ever for Midwest farmers, and now this storm has put an exclamation mark on an absolutely horrific growing season.

Nobody is sure exactly what is coming next, but since we all have to eat, the truth is that every man, woman and child in America should be deeply concerned about what just happened.

Source: Historic Midwest Blizzard Has Farmers Seeing “Massive Crop Losses…As Devastating As We’ve Ever Seen”

October 15, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Understand the Lord’s Blessing

We count those blessed who endured. (5:11a)

The phrase we (believers in general) count introduces a fourth motive for patiently enduring trials: it is common knowledge that God has blessed those who have so endured. Endured translates a form of the verb hupomenō, which is related to the noun translated “endurance” in 1:3–4. As noted in the earlier discussion of verse 7, that word refers to patiently enduring difficult circumstances. People who endure are the objects of divine favor. Paul understood this and revealed it in the rich words of 2 Corinthians 12:7–10:

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul was blessed even in this life with humility, dependence on God, special grace, and spiritual strength—all through his being unjustly assaulted by Satan.

God’s blessing does not come to people who do great things, but to people who endure. Those who will receive the greatest blessing in the life to come are those who have endured the greatest suffering in the present world (cf. Matt. 20:20–23). The hope of blessing now and in the future glory should motivate suffering Christians to patient endurance.

Realize the Lord’s Purpose

You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, (5:11b)

James’s fifth motive for patient endurance of trials derived from a familiar story to James’s Jewish readers. The incredible story of the endurance of Job amid his trials was one of the most popular stories in Jewish history. Job endured unimaginable, unexplained suffering—the fierce attacks of Satan, the loss of his children, his wealth, his health, his reputation, and, worst of all, his sense of God’s presence. It is true that Job vocalized his misery (3:1–11), bemoaned the fallacious counsel of his misguided, would-be comforters (16:2ff.), and cried out in confusion to God (7:11–16). Yet “through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (Job 1:22; cf. 2:10). Job’s triumphant statement “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (13:15) exemplifies his patient acceptance of his trials (cf. 1:21; 19:25–27).

The outcome or purpose of the Lord’s dealings with Job provides hope for all who patiently endure suffering. There were at least four important divine purposes for Job’s suffering: to test his faith and prove it genuine; to thwart Satan’s attempt to destroy that faith; to strengthen Job’s faith and enable him to see God more clearly; and to increase Job’s blessedness. All those purposes were realized because despite all his trials Job remained loyal to God. The book of Job closes by enumerating God’s blessing of his loyal, faithful servant:

The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys. He had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, and the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations. And Job died, an old man and full of days. (Job 42:10–17)

The example of Job encourages those suffering trials to patiently endure, realizing the Lord’s purpose is to strengthen them, perfect them, and, in the end, to richly bless them. In the words of the apostle Paul, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Consider the Lord’s Character

the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (5:11c)

Fittingly, James closed his exhortation to patiently endure trials with a reminder of the character of God. It is not uncommon for those in the midst of severe trials to, like Job, question whether God really cares about them. But in all their trials, believers can take comfort in the indisputable truth that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. That is the clear testimony of the Old Testament (e.g., Ex. 33:18–19; 34:6; Num. 14:18; 2 Chron. 30:9; Neh. 9:17; Pss. 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; 112:4; 116:5; 145:8; Isa. 30:18; Lam. 3:22–23; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2).

Full of compassion translates polusplagchnos, a word used only here in the New Testament and perhaps coined by James himself. It literally means “many-boweled,” reflecting the Hebrew idiom which spoke of the bowels or stomach as the seat of emotion. To say that God is “many-boweled” is to affirm that He has an enormous capacity for compassion.

That God is merciful is the unmistakable teaching of Scripture (cf. Ps. 86:15; Ezek. 39:25; Luke 1:78; Rom. 9:16; 11:30, 32; 12:1; 15:9; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 2:4; Heb. 2:17; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2:10). Because of God’s great mercy, Peter exhorted believers, “[Cast] all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7; cf. Ps. 55:22; Phil. 4:6). Believers’ suffering elicits a merciful, compassionate response from their heavenly Father (Ps. 103:13).

Any trial, suffering, or persecution that Christians face can be patiently endured by anticipating the Lord’s coming, recognizing the Lord’s judgment, following the example set by the Lord’s faithful servants, understanding the Lord’s blessing, realizing the Lord’s purpose, and considering the Lord’s compassionate, merciful character. Those who do so will be able to say triumphantly with the psalmist, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5).[1]

The Compassion of the Lord (5:11)

The reason for optimism in adversity is this: “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11). Compassion and mercy are more than synonyms for love. The terms convey the visceral feelings, the deep-seated emotional feeling of love.

The story of a missing teenager illustrates the idea. At fourteen, Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home; nine months later police found her, in a disguise, on the street of a small western town, in the company of the two enigmatic drifters who kidnapped her. Her recovery was hailed as a miracle, but every parent of older children knew at once that something had gone wrong with Elizabeth. A fourteen- (and then fifteen-) year-old who has enough liberty to stroll a street also has chances to call for help. She didn’t run to the police officer on the street—the officer spotted her and took her into custody. Why wasn’t she trying to escape, we wondered. When Elizabeth’s father appeared on television, we could see the same perplexity in him. Yet heartfelt joy ruled every word, every gesture. His daughter was home. The emotions of love filled his face and infused his voice. However bewildering her behavior was, he loved his child.

So it is with us. God’s love is more than a dispassionate, detached interest in our well-being. Scripture chooses the language of emotional feelings to describe that love.

This passage offers us many reasons to persevere in the faith. It comforts us in several ways. First, it shows us the Lord. He is near. He is the Judge and comes to set all things right. Second, it reminds us of Job and the prophets, who persevered to the end in great adversity. Yet above all, James takes us to the fatherly heart of God. He abounds in love and he is sovereign still. Knowing this, whatever our troubles, we can endure. We can persevere to the end and know the full blessing of God.[2]

11 The aorist of this macarism is deliberate—not men who are still enduring, but men who have endured and have now completed their test (1:2, 12), as Job finished his, and wins the Christian envy of us all. As Ropes says (p. 299), telos indicates consummation; but for the Christian, trial will not quite be over till the Parousia. Job is not cited as an example of makrothymia proper, but, like Elijah, of not altogether perfectly patient hypomonē, “that gallant spirit which can breast the tides of doubt and sorrow and disaster, and still hold on, and come out with faith still stronger on the other side”; his lapse in patience proper did not exclude him from the Lord’s pity and mercy.45 The example of Job therefore would have a special appeal for those in trial.

Obviously the idea of telos must be connected in some way with the story of Job. If this is kept in mind, fruitless speculation on its meaning and integrity will be avoided. Telos is correct: it refers not to Christ, his sufferings, death, or resurrection (Augustine, Bede, Wettstein; see Ropes), but to Job and the joyful consummation that crowned his sorrows (Job 42:10ff.). Though telos can mean “purpose” (RSV), it is best taken here as “outcome,” “issue,” “result” (Latin effectus): similarly the Syriac version, “the end which the Lord made for him” (exitum quem ei fecit dominus). So James urges the same spirit in endurance to win a no less merciful award.

Instead of a noun, such as “mercy” or “pity,” James uses a “that” clause—“that the Lord is merciful,” with two adjectives recalling Ps. 103:8. Very pitiful occurs nowhere else in the Bible: it is borrowed from a Hebrew locution,49 literally “many bowels of compassion,” i.e., “very kind”; compassionate illustrates both James’s force and his Hebraic affinities. James began this section (vv. 7–11) with an assurance of the quality of that reward.[3]

5:11a Our reading of v. 11a connects it with the prophets in v. 10 as “those who showed endurance” instead of with Job, who emerges in v. 11b, but the matter is far from clear. Three factors cloud the issue: first, James begins with “Indeed,” idou (“behold”), and this word often serves to introduce a new topic or level of argument. In 3:4 it marked the shift from the bit in a horse’s mouth to the rudder of a ship; in 5:4 it intensifies the argument by shifting it to a new level; in 5:7 it particularizes the argument by providing a fresh analogy; and in 5:9 it turns the argument to a new level of seriousness. Second, there is a tense change: 5:10 “take” (labete) is aorist; in 5:11a we have a present tense (“we call blessed”) and in 5:11b we turn back to the aorist (“you have heard”). Third, the term “showed endurance” (hypomeinantas), while clearly overlapping in sense with “patience” (makrothymia), is picked up again in 5:11b with the “endurance” (hypomonē) of Job. For these reasons, then, v. 11a could be taken as a transitional statement that leads to 5:11b. On the other hand, it can also serve to summarize the practical particularities of the theology of 5:10: if one asks what it means to say “As an example … take the prophets …,” one could not find a better manifestation than “we call blessed” in 5:11a. The use of the present tense then would serve to make the practical significance vivid. Furthermore, “those who showed endurance” is a single-term summary of what “suffering and patience” means. The issue is far from clear, but we think 5:11a functions as a summary statement of 5:10 and, at the same time, prepares the ground for 5:11b.

The Jewish community at large, and we can infer also the messianic community in particular, blessed those who endured: “we call blessed those who showed endurance.” If we see the present tense in aspectual terms, that is in terms of depiction of action instead of correspondence to time and reality, and if that aspectual intent is to describe action that is incomplete or “imperfective,” then what is incomplete is the claims of the merchants (4:13), the mist-like nature of their duration (4:14), the “instead of … but” actions of 4:15–16, the knowledge of good and not doing it (4:17), the wailing of the rich farmers and the coming of miseries (5:1), the cries of the harvesters (5:4), the prayerful resistance of the harvesters (5:6), the reception of precious/valuable crops (5:7), the patience of the farmer (5:7), the intended non-grumbling of the messianic community (5:9a), and the blessing of those who endured (5:11a). In James’s mental world, these are the focal elements of his exhortations in 4:13–5:11. My suggestion is that the blessing corresponds to these elements and, in particular, it corresponds with the cries of the oppressed. As the oppressed cry to God, the messianic community blesses those poor who are living faithfully.

Inherent to 5:11a’s “we call blessed” is the macarism in 1:12, where the messianic community was promised that endurance, prompted as it is by the steadfast love of God, will lead to reward. Thus, “we call blessed,” in the sense of being blessed by God, also implies “and you will be too if you endure in spite of this oppression.” Matthew 5:11–12 is probably behind both James 1:12 and 5:10–11a, and the text shows substantive parallels:

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

It is not at all stretching the text to think that James connects the messianic community to that line of prophets in using the prophets as examples for how the messianists are also to endure and show patience in suffering.

Perseverance, the grace and resolution to remain faithful under serious stress, is promised not only happiness but salvation (Dan 12:12; Matt 10:22; 24:13). James cares about perseverance, apparently not in ways that have fascinated theologians, but in the pastoral context of knowing messianists who were asked to run the gauntlet. Thus, James 1:3–4 teaches that tests of faith lead to endurance (hypomonē) and endurance builds maturity; 1:12 teaches that the one who endures (hypomenō) temptation/testing will receive the “crown of life”; and now in the context of severe trial (5:1–6), the messianists are exhorted to take suffering prophets and Job as their example—and to wait for God’s timing in judgment (5:7–11). For James perseverance has to do with human will, the building of Christian character, connection to the story of God’s people, and final destiny. Job (5:11b)

“You have heard of the endurance of Job.” James finds in Job the quintessential example of patience in suffering or endurance and his example forms a model of how the messianists are to conduct themselves under stress. But why Job? His example is sui generis, an assault by the Satan on God’s playground, and has nothing to do with oppression by the rich. Furthermore, he was not all that patient: “He was anything but an example of a godly person who was patient in the midst of adversity.” “The canonical book rather pictures Job as a bit self-righteous, overly insistent on getting an explanation for his unjust sufferings from the Lord.”215 Nor does the standard paradigm, “the patience of Job,” help us. Nor does it help that such a stereotype has led to a complacent theory of patience. Indeed, Job’s story tells us in no uncertain terms that he complained. But any reading of Job reveals a character who stuck it out, who trusted in God, and who did so fully aware of the fundamental injustice he had experienced. Maybe, then, Job is the perfect example for the oppressed poor. Patience here need not be understood as quietude or passivity; perhaps genuine patience involves realities like protesting to God, yet without surrendering one’s integrity or one’s faith in God or losing the path of following Jesus.

Some suggest that James brings in Job because Job was seen by some as a prophet. Thus, Sirach 49:9 says “God also mentioned Job who held fast to all the ways of justice” and sandwiches Job between Ezekiel and the Twelve Prophets. Not only is this slender evidence but it is also not the focus of James, who is less concerned with who is a prophet and more with the need to endure. Oddly enough, the word “endurance” (hypomonē) only appears once in the Septuagint of Job and then not of Job himself (14:19). Perhaps we are to think of a general stereotype of Job as someone who was patient in suffering and who endured. Job is chosen because the story of Job was connected to suffering, patience, and endurance.

It may be that the canonical text of Job does not fit the stereotype James calls on, but perhaps the evidence of the Jewish world suggests that it is the interpreted Job who is an example for James. This is a central theme in the Testament of Job, and there are strong parallels between that book (especially 33) and James. Thus, in Testament of Job 27:3–7 Satan admits defeat and his words tell the story: “So you also, Job, were the one below and in a plague, but you conquered my wrestling tactics which I brought on you.” And then Job says to his children: “Now then, my children, you also must be patient in everything that happens to you. For patience is better than anything.” That text is almost certainly later than the book of James, but it does reveal that the theme of perseverance was central to the perception of Job in the Jewish and Christian worlds.

But we should not fall for this generality about patience so easily. Indeed, Job is cast in the Testament of Job in altogether patient terms, but that is not James’s point. He has more in mind with Job; he has in mind the poor oppressed who cry out to God (like Job), who are not to resort to violence, and who will retain their faith and integrity without always falling from their commitments. It is then the combination of Job’s (impatient!) protests along with his steady resolve to stick to what he believes to be true, even if God does not (!), that makes Job the most suitable character in the Bible for what James has to say.

“The purpose of the Lord” not only continues the example of Job but provides for James a platform for what he has to say to the oppressed poor in the messianic community. The NRSV might lead some to think James has become abstract when he says “and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,” but the term translated “purpose” is telos. Patience has been connected to God’s sovereign purposes in 1:2–4, but here telos seems to reflect the “end” of the book of Job, where “the Lord” forgives Job’s friends through Job’s prayers, that is, “the Lord’s end” refers to the merciful resolution of the story of Job and his friends. God not only forgives the friends but then also shows mercy to Job by restoring his fortunes. This best explains why James then says “how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”226

While Job 42:7–17 brings these themes to the fore, they are emphasized even more in the targum of Job from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thus 11Q10 [Tg Job] 38:1–9:

[(So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad) the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and] did [what they had been told by] God. And G[o]d listened to the voice of Job and forgave them their sins because of him. Then God turned back to Job in compassion and gave him twice what he once had possessed. There came to Job all his friends, brethren and those who had known him, and they ate bread with him in his house. They consoled him for all the evil that God had brought upon him, and each man gave him one sheep and one gold ring. So God blessed J[ob’s] latt[er days, and h]e [had] [fourteen thousand] sh[eep …]

James here moves in the world of wisdom, as can also be seen in Wisdom 2:16–17 and 3:19. But James goes beyond this wisdom conviction that we ought to live now in light of the end, to seeing “the Lord’s end” as days of mercy, restoration, and blessing. Furthermore it is not just the telos of life that James has in mind but the telos of the Lord.

James appeals to the compassion and mercy of God, as he often does (1:5, 17–18, 27; 2:5, 11, 13; 5:4, 6), but he does so again not in the abstract nor casually but to assure the poor oppressed of the community that God can remake all things. As Job lost it all at the hands of the Enemy, and God restored it all in duplicate, so the oppressed poor can count on God’s mercy and God’s goodness that maybe they, too, will find “the Lord’s end” better than the beginning. Surely the appeal to God’s compassion and mercy evoke texts like Exodus 34:6–7, where we find not only mercy for God’s good people but also the warning of judgment on those living in iniquity.[4]

Job (v. 11)

We know Job’s story very well. He was very devoted and faithful to the Lord, and he was very prosperous and happy. And then the devil came along and suggested that Job was faithful because he was blessed. If his blessings were removed, his devotion to God would vanish!

So the Lord allowed Satan to test Job, and test he did! Job lost his family, his health and his possessions. But in the end, Job still had his faith, and the devil was proven wrong.

In citing the example of Job, James refers to ‘the end intended by the Lord’. And that end was to show ‘that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful’ (v. 11).

By reminding his readers of Job, James was calling them to trust God to have a good purpose even in the midst of circumstances that they did not understand.

We are called to this same kind of patience, but, oh, how difficult it is for us! We look at this harsh circumstance and that unpleasant reality, and we are very ready and eager to pronounce an adverse verdict on God. If the Lord truly had our best interests at heart, he would not allow such things! These difficulties are so great that there could not possibly be a good purpose behind them!

If we will let him, the devil will always have us drawing false conclusions about God on the basis of our burdens and trials.

What are we to do? We must learn how to talk to the devil! And when he suggests that our circumstances are such that they could not conceivably come from the hand of a good God, we must learn to point him to the cross of Calvary. That is where God for ever declared how he feels about his children. He put his only Son there to bear the wrath of God in their stead.

As we point Satan to the cross, we must say to him, ‘God did so much for me there that I can never question his love for me. God did so much for me there that if he chooses to do nothing else for me at all, I will still have cause to praise him forever.’

The cross is ever the great antidote for whatever ails the Christian. And if we will learn to always take the devil and his insinuations there, he will leave us and take his insinuations with him!

We have examined in brief fashion the plea that James made to his readers for patience. We must not leave his words without noticing one more thing, namely, their enemy in achieving patience. He says to them, ‘Establish your hearts …’ (v. 8). Alec Motyer puts it neatly: ‘Whatever our life-style, the heart lies at the centre.’

If we are failing in patiently trusting the Lord, it is because we have not fixed our hearts with determination and resolve. So let us give attention to our hearts. That is where the battle rages, and that is where the battle is lost or won.

Let us talk to God about our hearts. Let’s tell him how prone our hearts are to take us away from God. And let’s fill our hearts with the truth of the Word of God. If we are to live for God, we must all be good heart doctors.[5]

5:11 / In their own day prophets were regarded as reactionary fossils who did not like the modern trends in worship. They were seen as dangerous visionaries who believed that God, not strategic alliances, would protect the nation. Some were even thought to be weak-kneed traitors who suggested surrender (e.g., Jeremiah). Many people probably said, “I admire his convictions, but he seems to be rather masochistic, virtually demanding martyrdom by going public.” Others were glad when the prophet was dead and gone. The suffering itself was far from glamorous, with no angel choirs lending a glow to the setting. Yet now we consider blessed those who have persevered. Matthew 5:11–12 is the background, for Jesus calls blessed those suffering for good deeds. This is a reversal of the world’s evaluation, and James implies that “the same happiness can be yours.” Since the prophets’ happiness was because they did not give up but persevered, perseverance is also required of Christians. In this vein, Jesus had earlier said that the truly saved is “whoever holds out to the end” (Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Luke 21:19), and Paul will point out that it is those who cross the finish line who gain the prize (1 Cor. 9:24–27; Phil. 3:13–14; cf. 2 Tim. 4:6–8).

As a concrete prophet James cites Job: You have heard of Job’s perseverance, and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The story of Job was a favorite in Jewish circles; he is cited as early as Ezekiel 14:14, 29. By the time of James, many embellished versions existed that enlarged upon the canonical account in two directions: (1) they emphasized Job’s endurance under testing, and (2) they stressed his righteousness, especially his great charity. The important point for James, however, is that as much as Job complained, he refused to give up his trust or to disobey God, and the Lord finally brought about his deliverance. The call to the Christian, then, is not to give up and to lose the reward now, after all that has already been endured, but to keep holding on.

Driving his point home, James adds a single clause: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James is citing Ps. 103:8 or 111:4 (probably from memory), and the quotation is most appropriate. God does not like watching people squirm. He would not allow suffering to happen if there were not a far greater good ahead. On this note the summary ends: Trust God and keep on patiently enduring, for the Lord is unimaginably concerned about you.[6]

11a. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.

In this verse we hear the echo of one of Jesus’ beatitudes, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11–12). James intimates that the readers are familiar with this word of Jesus.

Blessed are the people who have persevered and continue to persevere. In the introduction to his epistle James writes the beatitude, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial” (1:12; also see 1:3). Toward the end of his epistle, he mentions “perseverance” in the context of a discussion on patience (5:11). James seems to say that the persevering believer actively bears up under trials and temptations and remains courageous. He provides a striking example by referring to job.

11b. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.

Perhaps because of our reliance on Bible translations, the proverbial patience of Job has become well known. But in his epistle, James uses the word perseverance rather than “patience.” He introduces the noun perseverance with the verb to persevere in the preceding sentence: “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered” (v. 11a; also see 1:3, 4, 12). Patience can be described as passive endurance; by contrast, perseverance is the active determination of a believer whose faith triumphs in the midst of afflictions.

What do we know about the patience of Job? The prophet Ezekiel mentions him with Noah and Daniel. However, the prophet extols not patience but righteousness as the qualifying virtue of Job (Ezek. 14:14, 20). Even in the Book of Job, patience is not one of Job’s outstanding characteristics. Job betrays his impatience when he curses the day of his birth (3:1) and when he says that the “long-winded speeches” of his three friends never end (16:3).

Then, what makes Job unforgettable? He is known for his steadfastness, that is, his persevering faith that triumphed in the end. Because “Job did not sin in what he said” (2:10), God eventually blessed him with twice as many possessions as he had before (42:12–13). For this reason, James tells his readers that they “have seen what the Lord finally brought about.” God blessed Job because of his persevering faith.

11c. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

If God permitted Satan to take everything Job possessed, if God allowed the rich people to oppress the poor in the days of James, is he at all concerned about man’s lot on earth?

Yes, God is concerned about his people. James writes these assuring words, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Although he does not quote the Old Testament Scriptures, he alludes to at least two passages:

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. [Exod. 34:6]

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger, abounding in love. [Ps. 103:8]

But James goes one step further than these two passages. He coins a word in Greek that does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament. He says, “The Lord is full of compassion” (italics added). God is more than compassionate; he is filled with compassion. His heart goes out to the person in need of help.

What is compassion? It is a feeling; the word is best translated “heart.” Furthermore, compassion is synonymous with mercy. Mercy extends to man and is received by him. Mercy has an external aspect; it reaches out to man.

James exhorts the readers to imitate the prophets, reminds them of Job’s perseverance, and teaches them about God’s abounding love and mercy. His message is: God will sustain you.[7]

11. The patience of Job. Having spoken generally of the prophets, he now refers to an example remarkable above others; for no one, as far as we can learn from histories, has ever been overwhelmed with troubles so hard and so various as Job; and yet he emerged from so deep a gulf. Whosoever, then, will imitate his patience, will no doubt find God’s hand, which at length delivered him, to be the same. We see for what end his history has been written. God suffered not his servant Job to sink, because he patiently endured his afflictions. Then he will disappoint the patience of no one.

If, however, it be asked, Why does the Apostle so much commend the patience of Job, as he had displayed many signs of impatience, being carried away by a hasty spirit? To this I reply, that though he sometimes failed through the infirmity of the flesh, or murmured within himself, yet he ever surrendered himself to God, and was ever willing to be restrained and ruled by him. Though, then, his patience was somewhat deficient, it is yet deservedly commended.

The end of the Lord. By these words he intimates that afflictions ought ever to be estimated by their end. For at first God seems to be far away, and Satan in the meantime revels in the confusion; the flesh suggests to us that we are forsaken of God and lost. We ought, then, to extend our view farther, for near and around us there appears no light. Moreover, he has called it the end of the Lord, because it is his work to give a prosperous issue to adversities. If we do our duty in bearing evils obediently, he will by no means be wanting in performing his part. Hope directs us only to the end; God will then shew himself very merciful, however rigid and severe he may seem to be while afflicting us.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 259–261). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Doriani, D. M. (2007). James. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 183–184). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Adamson, J. B. (1976). The Epistle of James (pp. 192–193). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] McKnight, S. (2011). The Letter of James (pp. 418–423). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (pp. 154–156). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[6] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (pp. 120–121). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 168–170). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 351–352). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Can My Friend Be Excited About Sin and Be a Christian? (Video) | Cold Case Christianity

In this video, recorded at a Fearless Faith Seminar, J. Warner Wallace helps answer an audience question: Can My Friend Be Excited About Sin and Be a Christian? Why do we still struggle with sin, even though we have professed Christ as our savior?

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

Source: Can My Friend Be Excited About Sin and Be a Christian? (Video)

More Than 250K Students Huddle in Prayer, Worship on Athletic Fields Nationwide — Faithwire

More than 250,000 students reportedly gathered last week on athletic fields across the country to pray and worship.

As part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ (FCA) “Fields of Faith” program, students gathered at more than 500 fields nationwide, according to Fox News.

“In a world where bad news seems to be the norm, we’re happy to share the great news that lives are being changed through [FCA’s] ‘Fields of Faith,’” FCA Executive Director of Ministry Advancement Jeff Martin, told Fox News. “From the student leaders who take on the responsibility to bring ‘Fields of Faith’ to their communities to the skeptical or hurting teen who might be attending for the first time, we see time and again that ‘Fields of Faith’ motivates, energizes, rejuvenates, and unites.”

An annual event, the “Fields of Faith” program began in 2002, according to its website. It is a student-led event held on an athletic field to “provide a neutral, rally point where a community can come together,” the website said.

It boasted bringing out nearly 200,000 people across 521 fields in 2018 and more than 192,000 people across about 500 fields in 2017.

In 2004, the first year the program went national, about 6,000 people gathered at 23 fields across three states.

In Muncie, Indiana, 17 students from three counties and nine schools addressed those gathered at the Southside Middle School football field, which can hold up to 3,000 people, the Star Press reported.

“It inspires me to watch these kids pour themselves into this for six weeks and take the stage in front of that kind of crowd,” Jeff Mosier, the FCA director for the Muncie area, told the newspaper. “It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of them.”

And in Baltimore, a group of football players at Frederick Douglass High School had a specific prayer in mind when they gathered Wednesday morning: peace from violence.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It gives hope to our young people, and definitely we need that in the city right now,” Sirena Alford, an FCA regional director, told WBFF-TV.

According to the news outlet, players at the high school “huddle” in prayer weekly.

via More Than 250K Students Huddle in Prayer, Worship on Athletic Fields Nationwide — Faithwire

New Smart Doorbell Will Argue With Jehovah’s Witnesses, LDS Missionaries For You — The Babylon Bee

SANTA MONICA, CA—Security and smart home manufacturer Ring recently announced a new version of its innovative video doorbell. The Debate Ring Pro is designed to engage in theological arguments with visitors from other religious backgrounds. When the video monitoring software detects LDS missionaries or Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, the device gently, but firmly recites verses supporting the deity of Jesus Christ and other defenses for orthodox theology.

“It’s one of the most common front-door conversations in our country,” said Ring founder and chief inventor James Siminoff. “So we knew we had to do something to address it. Now instead of having an uncomfortable religious discussion with strangers, you can let your doorbell do it.”

The response algorithm generates solid rebuttals for the most common heretical doctrines, like that of Christ being an angel. “Scripture clearly tells us to worship Jesus, yet as demonstrated in Revelation 19, angels do not nor should not receive worship.”

If the debate gets too heated, the smart doorbell simply backs down and says, “Listen, I don’t think we’re going to solve this issue today. Let’s just agree to seek the Scriptures faithfully and commit to praying for each other.”

The device can also be set to Evangelist Mode, which explains the “Romans Road” to visitors and leads food delivery drivers in the sinner’s prayer before payment is made.

via New Smart Doorbell Will Argue With Jehovah’s Witnesses, LDS Missionaries For You — The Babylon Bee

Schiff suddenly backpedals on whistleblower, says he may not be needed | WND

The Trump “impeachment inquiry” is in full swing, and we now know definitively why the Democrats decided against voting for an actual impeachment inquiry: It might have booted the kangaroos out of the courtroom.

Instead, the only person booted out of the hearings, run by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, was Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, presumably because, as a congressman who’s not a member of the Intelligence Committee, he tried to crash the testimony of former national security official Fiona Hill.

Of course, there’s no ability for Republicans to cross-examine witnesses or to subpoena their own, as there would be in an actual impeachment inquiry, which is kind of the point.

“This process is a joke, and the consequences are huge,” New York GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin told The Associated Press.

Well, the good news is that the joke could be one punchline shorter, since an anticipated witness may not need to testify, according to Schiff.

The bad news is that the witness is, um, the whistleblower who started this whole thing.

You know, the one who allegedly had ties to Joe Biden. And the one who had contact with Schiff’s aides before he filed the complaint. That whistleblower.

We can now just rely on the transcript of the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that sparked the Democrats’ impeachment efforts. You know, the transcript Democrats claimed we couldn’t trust.

In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Schiff said that because there is a second whistleblower, a call transcript and a need to protect the whistleblower’s anonymous status, the Intelligence Committee may not call the original whistleblower after all.

“Well, our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected,” Schiff said.

“Indeed, now there’s more than one whistleblower, that they are protected. And given that we already have the call record, we don’t need the whistleblower who wasn’t on the call to tell us what took place during the call. We have the best evidence of that.

“We do want to make sure that we identify other evidence that is pertinent to the withholding of the military support, the effort to cover this up by hiding this in a classified computer system. We want to make sure that we uncover the full details about the conditionality of either the military aid or that meeting with Ukraine’s president,” he continued.

“It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower’s identity to do that. And we’re going to make sure we protect that whistleblower.”

Host Margaret Brennan didn’t push Schiff on the fact that he had previously said the whistleblower would testify.

As The Daily Caller reported, Schiff had said the whistleblower would be testifying “very soon” back in September.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was in the process of clearing the whistleblower to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

“And, as Director Maguire promised during the hearing, that whistleblower will be allowed to come in and come in without a ‘minder’ from the Justice Department or from the White House to tell the whistleblower what they can and cannot say,” Schiff said.

“We will get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower.”

Haha, j/k, though. We don’t need the whistleblower after all.

This supposedly has nothing to do with the fact Schiff’s people had contact with the whistleblower or that the whistleblower probably had ties to Biden and perhaps even traveled to Ukraine with him while Biden was vice president. This has nothing to do with the collapse of the original story. It’s all about protecting the whistleblower.

The aforementioned Rep. Zeldin may have said it best when he told “This Week,” according to Politico, that “what Adam Schiff wants is to get United States of America drunk on his favorite cocktail.”

“There’s three ingredients,” Zeldin said. “One is cherry-picking leaks, second is withholding facts, and three is just outright lying.”

Expect to see plenty of those cocktails served over the next few months. Then, if all works as planned, the case gets sent to the Senate, which will be forced to act as our country’s designated driver.

If “Profiles in Courage” ever gets a 21st-century update by Joe Kennedy III, my guess is that even with a strong Democratic bias, Schiff won’t be making it in there.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Source: Schiff suddenly backpedals on whistleblower, says he may not be needed

Southern Baptist Pastors Promotes Prosperity Gospel False Teacher, Paula White — Reformation Charlotte

When you have a common god, you share a common cause. In this case, their common god is right-wing politics.

Disclaimer: I am very conservative and support most of the Trump administration’s policies.

Last week, Reformation Charlotte reported that celebrity Southern Baptist Fox News pastor, Robert Jeffress, praised Donald Trump like he was a deity from the pulpit. Jeffress has been on the frontlines of right-wing politics and a staunch supporter of Donald Trump since the beginning of the 2016 presidential campaign. Jeffress is one of Trump’s “spiritual advisors” along with others — most of them false teachers.

One of those false teachers is Paula White. Paula White is a prosperity gospel pimptress who defrauds people for personal gain. Every rational orthodox Bible-believing Christian has marked Paula White (Romans 16:17-18) as one to be avoided. White has claimed that God came to her and personally told her to accept the title of “Apostle,” which is contrary to the Scriptures’ teaching on the apostles — there were only 12. She denies God’s sovereignty and says that it’s “illegal” for God to do anything without your “partnership.” She has even stated that wherever she is, the ground she stands on becomes “holy ground.” In short, in many ways, she has usurped God’s own authority.

Now, Robert Jeffress, a celebrity Southern Baptist pastor who is recognized in the convention as one of the most controversial political advocates for right-wing politics is promoting Paula White’s heretical book, Something Greater.

Read more: Southern Baptist Pastors Promotes Prosperity Gospel False Teacher, Paula White — Reformation Charlotte

Consumerism Is Driving the Church — Christian Research Network

“I recently read an article by an Evangelical vicar of the Church of England warning of the church’s inevitable exile from the already estranged culture. So, in addition to the dangers of compromise that this fellow-Evangelical observes, I would add that the particular American danger for the church is its preoccupation with providing an entertaining experience for the 8:00 am, 10:30 am, and 11:30 am Sunday crowd.”

(Theodore Zachariades – Pulpit & Pen)  It should not surprise one that the church in its larger contours is eaten up with consumerist mentalities. The wider culture in North America is certainly rushing full-throttle on the capitalist train, so it should not be a shock to see the “church at large” imbibing marketing strategies and selling its product.

Furthermore, as the average person in the USA is currently predisposed to find comfort and entertainment as the answer to their otherwise futile working weeks, the church senses its need to compete for attendees.

If a shopping mall is more attractive when it has a food court and a Starbucks, we may as well have high-end coffee and donuts on offer at our congregational meetings or we might fall down the scale of the trendy and the desirable. Malls, once a thing buried deep in an innovator’s ingenuity, now provide avenues not just for purchasing things but a complete shopping extravaganza.  View article →

via Consumerism Is Driving the Church — Christian Research Network

9 Ways Every Believer Can Glorify God — The Blazing Center

Before Jesus saved me, I lived essentially for my own happiness. I wanted to make myself happy. I never actually said that, but I believe that deep down that was the driving force in my life. I learned to play guitar and got into a rock band because that brought me pleasure. I became an art major in college because painting and drawing made me happy. I wanted a girlfriend essentially for my happiness. And I had no idea how self-centered I was, how selfish I was.

And when I cried out to Jesus, it was initially essentially for my own happiness. For relief from my ever-increasing guilt, and ever-increasing slavery to sin. I didn’t pray, “Jesus, please save me for your glory. I want to live a life to glorify you.”

I’m so grateful God is so longsuffering, loving and patient with me.

Eventually, the more I read and heard God’s word, the longer I followed Jesus, he revealed the main reason he saved me – for his glory. God saves us, yes, because he loves us, and because  he is so merciful. But I believe the primary reason he creates us and then saves us is for his glory. And he is not some vain, self-centered God who just wants all the glory. The more we see and know God’s glory and give him glory, the more joy we experience in him.

Our greatest goal in life should be to know and delight in our Lord, and to bring him glory.

Our greatest goal should not be to be successful or famous or rich. Our greatest desire should be to know our God, and to live to serve him and glorify him. As it says in the Psalms:

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1

We should desire to glorify God because he is worthy of all glory and honor:

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11

And God tells us in 1 Corinthians:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (10:31)

So how can we glorify God?

We may think that those who glorify God are those who have extraordinary gifts, maybe like preachers or missionaries or people like Mother Theresa. You may think, “How can I glorify God? I have to drive an hour to work every morning through heavy traffic. I work all day at this boring job. I drive home, and have to take care of my kids (if you have kids) or pay my bills, and clean up the kitchen after supper. I have to cut my grass and pay my bills. My life is ordinary and I’m not some powerful evangelist. How can I glorify God?

God tells us that each one of us can glorify him in numerous ways. Here are some ways every one of us can glorify God.

1. We glorify God by letting our light shine before others.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

We can let our light shine before our unbelieving relatives on holidays, by serving them. By being cheerful. By not grumbling when we don’t get our way. We can let our light shine before our children every day by serving our spouse, and by demonstrating thankfulness, patience, love, forgiveness.

We can let our light shine before our co-workers by not joining in with office gossip and grumbling about our boss. By looking for ways to serve our fellow workers. By seeking to be the most cheerful person in the office.

2. We glorify God by working heartily at whatever we do:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

When Paul exhorted his fellow believers to work heartily, he was primarily addressing “bondservants” to serve their masters heartily. But ultimately they were serving the Lord and that he would reward them. They may not have felt like they were glorifying God, but Paul said they were. They would bring glory to God by working heartily as bondservants, even though they may not have chosen to do that or desired it.

You may be stuck in a job you don’t like, but you can glorify God by doing your work heartily for the Lord, and not for your boss. And Jesus will reward you.

3. We glorify God by giving him thanks and praise:

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12

We don’t need to be in church to give thanks to God. We can thank him in the car, in our kitchen, on the way to class. We can thank him when we wake up in the morning for the gift of sleep and his protection during the night. We can thank him for the sunrise. For our health. For every heartbeat and every breath he gives us.

4. We glorify God by worshipping him together with others

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3

Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. Psalm 107:32

I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you. Psalm 35:18

5. We glorify God by how we live our lives

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Our unbelieving relatives, neighbors, fellow students, and co-workers are watching us. They want to see if Jesus has really changed us. There are all kinds of ways we can do this. It might be as simply as offering to get your neighbor’s mail when they’re out of town. Or going over and helping your neighbor shovel his driveway after a snow.

6. We glorify God by turning away from sin

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sine a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Paul told the Corinthians to “flee from sexual immorality.” In this way each one was to “glorify God in your body.” We glorify God by living holy lives. By fleeing sin.

7. We glorify God by serving others

Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

When we serve others, we do it by “the strength that God supplies” – and that brings him glory. I don’t have a natural inclination to serve others. I want to serve myself. But God calls us all to serve. So I must ask him for strength and desire, which he always gives me. Jesus humbled himself and came as a servant (Philippians 2), and when we serve others, we imitate Christ and bring glory to God.

8. We glorify God by bearing fruit.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:8

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

As we live for Jesus, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives. We don’t do it ourselves; the Holy Spirit does it in us and with us as we seek to obey Jesus. And Jesus said in John 15:8 that as we bear fruit it glorifies the Father, because people see that it is God who really did that in us.

As we grow in love, and kindness and gentleness and all the fruit of the Spirit the Father is glorified. We prove to be Jesus’ disciples and he is glorified.

9. We glorify God by being generous to the poor

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, theyf will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 2 Corinthians 9:10-13

Paul told the Corinthians that their “sowing” to the poor believers in Macedonia would “produce thanksgiving to God” and was “overflowing in many thanksgivings to God,” and the recipients would “glorify God” because of their generosity.

Make it your goal in life to glorify God every day, in everything you do. Ask him to help you glorify him. Nothing will bring you more joy and satisfaction.

via 9 Ways Every Believer Can Glorify God — The Blazing Center