From Handbook to Scripture, Day 340
READING: JAMES 5
Those who depend on their wealth and oppress others will meet with a day of reckoning (5:1–6). Those who are suffering and oppressed must persevere in hope of the promised coming of the Lord (5:7–12). This epistle concludes with a teaching on the healing and restoration that can be accomplished through the prayer offered in faith (5:13–20).
James calls himself “a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1) and speaks of his readers as brethren whose faith is in “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ” (2:1). While he says less than other New Testament writers about the Person and work of Christ, his words are saturated with allusions to the teaching of our Lord (there are 15 indirect references in this epistle to the Sermon on the Mount). He anticipates the Lord’s coming as the Judge in 5:7–9.
Prayer: Lord, may I order my steps in accordance with Your Word and live in anticipation of the coming of the Lord Jesus. May I be a person of prayer in all circumstances.
Meditation passage: verses 8, 11, 16
From Simple Prayers, Day 340
I DRAW NEAR TO YOU, GOD
As I approach Your throne of grace today, I am grateful that You care about the things that concern me and that You want me to offer them up to You.
May I obey those who are in authority over me in all things, not with external service as a pleaser of men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever I do, may I work at it with all my heart, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that I will receive the reward of the inheritance from the Lord. It is the Lord Christ I am serving. (Colossians 3:22–24)
May I not test the Lord or grumble as some of the Israelites did. (1 Corinthians 10:9–10)
Take a moment to share your personal needs with God, including your physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual concerns.
THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE
Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of men! (Proverbs 15:11)
The Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to his works. (Matthew 16:27)
I LISTEN TO YOUR WORDS OF TRUTH
I want to follow Abraham’s example of willingness to offer all that I have to You, holding nothing back and trusting in Your character and in Your promises. (Genesis 22:2–11)
MY RESPONSE TO YOU, LORD
A simple man believes everything, but a prudent man considers his steps. (Proverbs 14:15)
I will not spread false reports, nor will I help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. (Exodus 23:1)
Lord, I thank You that all things are open to You and that the Son of Man will reward each person according to his works. I pray that I would trust wholly in Your character and in Your promises, and I ask that I would consider my steps and speak the truth.
Adapted from Handbook to Spiritual Growth
THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is multifaceted, but three essential aspects are:
- Bearing witness to Jesus Christ;
- Applying Christ’s redemptive work in human hearts; and
- Working personally and progressively to form Christlikeness in the lives of believers. He empowers us to live a new quality of life, He purifies and purges us as we submit to His authority and control, and He equips us with spiritual gifts and opportunities to build others up in the faith.
But as J. I. Packer observes in Keep in Step with the Spirit, there are limitations to seeing the doctrine of the Spirit as essentially about power, purity, or performance. While all of these are vital components of the work of the Spirit of God, it is best to see the Spirit as an active, personal presence in our lives. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ by mediating Christ’s presence to us. The Spirit assures us of the Father’s love and care, brings us into personal fellowship with Jesus, and transforms our character so that we become more like Him.
It is wrong to speak of the Holy Spirit as an “it”—He is a living and loving Person, not a force to be utilized. Jesus called Him the Paraclete, a name which means “one called alongside” to help (John 14:16, 25; 15:26; 16:7). Paracletos is variously translated Helper, Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, Intercessor, Supporter, and Strengthener, and each of these terms carries a different nuance of the Spirit’s ministry to us.