“Faith Without Works is Dead!”

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

Remember the days of “Show and Tell” at school?  It was an opportunity for one to not just talk about what they do or have, but to display visible evidence before their classmates of a possession or skill.

Jesus was a “Show and Tell” Savior.  He drew many crowds to Himself through the many miracles that He performed: feeding 5,000, healing the sick, raising the dead and so on.  People often marveled at what He could do.  He did more than just talk the talk or preach and lecture, He demonstrated the power of the Kingdom of God through Himself.

While you and I may not be multiplying a boy’s lunch to feed 5,000, we can through our actions and service toward one another, volunteer to feed some.  We may not be raising the dead or healing the sick (although, miracles really do still happen), we can volunteer to comfort and help those around us in need.  What this does is it shows that we are more than just talk; rather our faith is manifested in what we do.

James knew that people needed to see the church displaying tangible evidence of what they say they believe.  Jesus, along with many others in the Bible, let their works speak for them.  And, how they worked showed what the real measure of their faith was on the inside of them.

For a man or woman to say they have faith or are in the faith without evidence to back it up is like saying one is a doctor without a degree to prove it.  When I go into a doctor’s office I am actually one of those people who will read the accreditations on the wall.  This is the proof that they can take care of me.  What I see hanging before me are speaking up on behalf of the individual to whom I am submitting myself to for care.  Those papers on the walls are little, personal testimonies.

Faith that is worked out operates in the same manner.  Faith is not silent.  Faith is full of action.  Faith is alive.  Faith is shared through works to testify of its genuineness and sincerity.  Faith does more than move mountains.  If it is lived out in the lives of the men and women of God, it can move hearts toward salvation!

When one is living a life of faith people should be able to look at their life, their actions, as signs of accreditation that we belong to God.  They should be able to tell by how we operate and carry ourselves through our display of service, that we live what we talk.

What can you and I do to show a hurting world that we have their best interest in mind; that we genuinely care about them as a person?  True faith believes and then allows that belief to be put to work.  True faith has heavenly aspirations that work out to show good on earth.

What you profess and what you do together should match up to display a well-rounded Christian.  People can’t claim they are heaven bound and yet show no heavenly fruit in their lives.  Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” (Quotegarden.com).  What are you waiting for?  Show the world that God is alive in you!  Put some action behind those words you speak!  Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (emphasis mine).  This light shines by what it is doing.  This kind of faith can make a bigger impact in this world and draw more men to God.

Faith without fruit is not an operational faith.  It’s stale.  It’s stagnating.  It does no good.  Real faith has to act out what it is experiencing on the inside.  Real, genuine faith will not just be content in a life of mediocrity – never accomplishing or making a difference for His kingdom.  Real faith wants to see better in and for people’s lives.  Real faith shows itself and overflows to those around him or her.

Faith, without the outward workings of tangible evidence, is just as dead as a body without a spirit (James 2:26).  There is no life there.  We are called to show life to a dying generation.  This is best done when our faith is put into action.  We can demonstrate the power of the Kingdom of God through lives that operate in living faith.

Jesus Christ’s ultimate testimony of “Show and Tell” was accomplished on the cross where He laid down His life to show this dying world that a new life can be found through Him.  He put what was on the inside of Him in action.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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“Prophets: Amos” | Sunday School Lesson Summary and Activities for Amos 7:10-17

This week’s Sunday School lesson summary and activities are available once again. Enjoy!

Venturing Forth!

God stretches our faith, pulling us to follow Him through what seems to be desert wildernesses. His fulfilled plan is on the other side, yet to get there we have to venture out into the unknown territories where He calls us, step by step in our own walk of faith.

May we, through this day, venture forth where God is leading with a heart of faith that refuses to turn back.

Word For Life Says...

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For the children of Israel there always seemed to a pull to return to bondage; to give themselves over to chains as opposed to freedom.  It was almost as if they had a case of the “couldn’t help its.”  For every little obstacle they faced they were soon ready to throw in the towel and return to what they formerly were. They spouted, “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness,” (Exodus 14:12).

Lest we judge them too harshly perhaps we may need to rethink how oft we fight to stay where we were once comfortable.  God stretches our faith, pulling us to follow Him through what seems to be desert wildernesses.  His fulfilled plan is on the other…

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DEVOTION – A Woman Ready!

My Project 501-001

 

Deep breath in.  With what seems to be the weight of the world on her shoulders, she marched forward not sure of the outcome. . .

People grapple with decisions every day.  Choices that make us question is this or is this not the right time or thing for me to do at this very moment.  After all, these daily decisions and choices we make don’t stay within the premise of the day.  Rather, they are far more reaching and can become a foreteller of what our future will be tomorrow.

Nevertheless, Queen Esther refused to fight with the what-ifs of life.  She didn’t hesitate about the next step she had to take.  She prayed.  She fasted.  With great resolve and determination, her heart was ready to go see the king (see the story of Esther in the Bible).

Imagine a race, if you will.  There you are at the starters block and the gun raises to sound the time to go.  If there be just a moment of hesitation the race would already be lost and one cannot claim the victory at the end.

The question is are we ready?  Do we have hearts that are fixed and minds made up with the same determination and resolve to go at the sounding of our time?

Queen Esther did.  She was a woman ready.  She would do what she had to do to save her people, even if it cost her life.  But, she didn’t let fear have its way.  Through the court gates she went, approaching the king, where her readiness of heart and mind gained her the victory.

Male or female.  Be determined in where God is calling you for such a time as this.  Be ready to step out in faith and believe that you will see the victory in the end.  Now, go.

Words to Live By – “Your beauty is not according to your outer appearance; rather, how you live for God.”

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30, NASB

What Would It Have Been Like? – “To Be the Philippian Jailer”

“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus; no not one, no not one!” the one that Paul and Silas sang?  No!  But, we can be assured the praises and melodies they were singing before the Lord was just as spiritually moving.

That’s one of the dramatic things about this night.  After being beaten with rods and receiving many stripes these songs of praises could not be silenced. Some of it fell on deaf ears yet, some were listening.  If it were just Paul and Silas, then they could have quietly worshipped and kept it to themselves.  But, they were not alone in this prison, on this night.  Other inmates needed to believe that there is still a reason to rejoice in the midst of these darkest times.

Not everyone was attentive.  The melodious tune was not picked up by all as a listening pleasure.  The jailer, whom earlier was given the charge to keep the prisoners locked up securely (Acts 16:23), was fast asleep.  So deep was his slumber it took the earth to begin to quake to rouse him from his midnight dreams.

Once awakened, the dreams dissipated and the reality of all that appears to have transpired sets in.  The prison doors are not only unlocked, but they are fully opened giving free course of exit to any who wished to leave.  After all, it is a prison and who would rightly want to stay beholden by chains.

The jailer knew the vehement attitude the multitudes had against the two who were bound in the inner prison.  The charge to contain them at all cost was serious.  So serious, the jailer thought, “Since I have fallen asleep on my duty and have given the opportunity of freedom to them that were bound, I must now seal my failure with my own death.  For surely, when the magistrates come and find out my fault, I shall pay with my life anyway.”

Determined not to let this go any further, the jailer drew his sword to perform the unthinkable.  When out of the dark, a voice arose above his desperation and called out, pleading with him to spare his own life.

What would it have been like?  What would it have been like to walk in the Philippian jailer’s shoes on that night?  One moment, he is captured by failure and facing death to sighing audibly a cry of relief at the voice of deliverance.

The law was the law and had he not heard that calling voice, he would surely be dead by now.

Unbelief demands evidence.  Grabbing the closest light, he runs back into the depths of the prison walls and comes face to face with the convicted.  “But, what’s this?  Why didn’t they flee?  The shackles are loosed; the doors are opened, and yet, they remain?”  He thought, “Why?”

The jailer found out that though these men were convicted and sentenced by law, they carried a deeper conviction in their souls.  Beaten, yet they sit.  “Surely, this can’t be possible?” his mind racing, trying to grasp everything at once and take it all in.

Then, as if a new page was turned in a book, a new chapter began in his life.  “Whatever faith and conviction these men have is superior to that which we have learned under Roman rule.”

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

What would it have been like to be the Philippian jailer, you ask?  Though we are not guards during the ancient rule, any of us can associate with the lost state of the jailer on that night.  He was condemned physically because of his failure.  He was condemned spiritually because, as David said, “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,” (Psalm 51:5, KJV).  The reality for the need of this salvation these men possessed pressed on the jailer as it did on us.

At one point or another, we have all had to run to the proverbial “altar” seeking, “What must I do to be saved?” as the jailer did.  Therefore, though much time has passed between him and us, the same cry of heart gets the attention of the same God.

How many times had he kept guard of the convicted?  How many times had he led the bound to their deaths?  We don’t know.  But, we do know that it only took one time for him to come face to face with his own mortality to realize there has to be a change in his life.

“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes.  And immediately he and all his family were baptized,” (Acts 16:32-33, NKJV).  The humbleness of all that happened in those few short hours promoted an attitude of service and repentance.  He was ready to be cleansed and made whole from the inside out.  “Who knows what tomorrow would bring, but tonight, I have to get right with God,” he must have thought as he contemplated it all.  And, the Bible tells us that he was baptized!

You ask, what would it have been like?  My response, “Don’t you know already?”  To be surrounded by death every day, and as quickly as one comes up out of the water, they have crossed the threshold into the newness of life.

That’s the epitome of salvation for the jailer and for us.  “Having believed in God,” (Acts 16:34, NKJV), and have our whole lives turned around.  The jailer may have been the guard on duty that night, but he was the one set free!  For that’s what salvation does for all that come to Him.

What would it have been like?  I think we already know.  The circumstances may be different but the salvation is the same.

In the end, it all worked out.  The jailer may have wondered what tomorrow would bring.  After all, he wouldn’t feel right about locking these men back up, would he?  At the same time, their freedom still meant his death.  The Bible tells us, “When it was day, the magistrates sent officers, saying, ‘Let those men go,’” (Acts 16:35, NKJV).

Could it be that God allowed Paul and Silas to go through all of that to save one soul, one household?  Using pure speculation here, I’d say, “Could be!”  To the reader it would appear so for the Bible doesn’t talk about anyone else making a life changing conversion on that dramatic night.

The jailer may have sighed with relief when hearing the voice call out in the night, but now he really experiences what it feels like to be free.  God spared his life physically (again) and spiritually (forever).

The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened after the jailer received new life.  Does he stay on working as a guard?  Did he give it all up to spread his testimony of what God had done in his life?  We don’t know.  But, what we do know is that like us, his life was never the same again.

Text Free Photo Credit: Pixabay

Words to Live By | Keep traveling. Your reward is up ahead.

 

 

 

Text Free Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Have Fun and Enjoy Life Today!”

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Every day is not supposed to be down in the dumps.  Every day is not supposed to be lacking joy and peace.  Jesus came to overthrow everything the enemy tries to do to steal the abundant life He offers.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” John 10:10.

Rise up this day and walk in what Jesus has already given you:

“ABUNDANT LIFE!”

“The God Who Touches Me . . .” | Inspirational Christian Poetry

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The God who touches me is the God who loves me.

Saved, my sins He has thrown into the deep sea.

 

He carries my soul in His hand day by day.

He wraps His strength around me; my fortress, my stay.

 

He covers me in light that shields from the dark.

He is the armor that protects from all fiery darts.

 

He’s my Shepherd and the Lamb, who leads and sacrifice.

My safety; my salvation came at His high price.

 

The God who touches me cares beyond what we know.

His love on display is the grandest show.

 

In it we see eternity play out.

His best became our rest; no reason to doubt.

 

On His throne He sits in heaven where we bow at the knee.

Never forsaking us, in His presence, till we are there home free.

 

The God who touches me, I reach out for Him too.

As the woman grabs His hem and is healed through and through.

 

To feel His virtue; His power; His love – it’s so real.

His Spirit overwhelms; on my heart is His seal.

 

Taking me to heights in heaven to know,

where for eternity I bask in His unimaginable glow.

 

 

 

 

 

Words to Live By | There is no greater joy than being in a relationship with God!

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…” 1 John 4:10