Hello Everyone,

This week's scripture is James 5:7-12 (NIV):
"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the LORD's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the LORD's coming is near. Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the LORD. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the LORD finally brought about. The LORD is full of compassion and mercy. Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear-not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No." Otherwise you will be condemned."

The first thing that really grabbed me in this verse was "Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." It reminded me of Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."


I found two definitions for the phrase "stand firm" on freedictionary.com:

1. stand firm - stand up or offer resistance to somebody or something
2. stand firm - refuse to abandon one's opinion or belief

We recently read in James 4:7 "Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.
We stand firm when we resist temptation to fight this fight with anything other than the truth, righteousness, readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, faith, and salvation that we only get from Jesus. 

When I was studying that verse in Ephesians, and I got to the "readiness that comes from the gospel of peace" part, I looked up the word gospel and found the definition, "The teachings of Christ". I meditated on the phrase, "The teachings of Christ, of peace" Several verse came to mind, here is one:

Matthew 5:21-24 (NIV) "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift"

That sounds a lot like part of what we just read in James 5, verse 9. "Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door." 

Also, the "readiness" part of that verse made me think of another; 1 Peter 3:13-16 (NIV) " Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c]  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

All of these connections excite me. When I look at all of this together, I think of the "readiness that comes from the gospel of peace" in two ways. One is that, living this way will give us opportunities to share about our hope in Christ to those who need it most.
Secondly, when we stand firm in all that Christ is and how he taught us to behave, we are ready for judgement day, covered in His armor.

That's all I have for you on these verses today. The major thing I have felt led to pray lately for all the Christians in my life, is encouragement. I pray the Lord will help you remember what GOOD NEWS we have, and let that joy be our strength. May we be able to cling to the JOY of Christ and not forget that strength as we put in the hard work of serving God and others, and work to be more like Him everyday. 


VCPC Weekly
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