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Hebrews | 2 Chronicles | JAMES | Ezra | 1 Peter

DateScriptureDaily devotional commentary
June 5-15: 2 Chronicles
June 16:James 1-5* What If...?, by Nancy Sween
June 17-19: Ezra

What If...
June 16 reading
James 1-5
James Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
* General James resources, TextWeek
* James - Faith for Living, by D Ahl
James: The Activity of Faith
, by R Stedman
PROMISE: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the LORD. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly..." (5:14-17a)
Before deciding that trials and temptations - yours or any other believer's - are a punishment or a judgment from the LORD...

WHAT IF your trials and temptations make you glad - ok, even joyful - for the chance to exercise your perseverance and faith? WHAT IF you ask God for wisdom - and get it? WHAT IF you take pride in humble circumstances no matter what your finances? (also Ps 37:16) WHAT IF you aren't tricked into thinking temptations come from God instead of from our old human nature? WHAT IF you realize God's word of truth causes birth pains in us?

WHAT IF we listen more, speak less, and don't expect our anger to bring righteousness? WHAT IF I take a lifestyle inventory and get rid of moral filth and evil? WHAT IF hearing God's word humbles me as it saves me? WHAT IF I hear or read God's word and act on it right away as truth? WHAT IF I stop deceiving myself that hearing and forgetting God's word is hiding it in my heart? WHAT IF, determined to obey God's word, I keep digging into the Old and New Testaments for wisdom of the perfect law of freedom?

WHAT IF I realize I've deceived myself - thinking I'm religious, but I talk too much? WHAT IF I add things like helping widows and orphans while practicing the scriptures, and take no time looking into worldly muck?

WHAT IF I don't show favoritism? WHAT IF I could see the wealth of the poor and the poverty of the rich? WHAT IF I loved my neighbor as myself? WHAT IF I see that mercy triumphs over judgment and live by mercy rather than tumult? WHAT IF I do nothing but talk when I see a need I could supply? WHAT IF I count any belief in one God as "right on" - forgetting that even demons believe that - then shudder? WHAT IF my faith and actions work together as Abraham's did and become my righteousness, too? WHAT IF a prostitute like Rahab helps God's people and is considered righteous?

WHAT IF I know we all stumble in many ways, especially in what we say, but I still want to teach - should it be theoretical, or wisdom I've learned by practice? WHAT IF I mistake the world's use of envy, ambition, quarreling, and fighting as wisdom? WHAT IF I don't have -- because I don't ask God for it, or don't receive it because of my motives? WHAT IF I don't realize that the spirit living in me intensely envies for me to be humble enough to receive the Lord God's grace?

WHAT IF we submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, come near God, clean up our lives and our hearts? WHAT IF we stop laughing to grieve, mourn, wail, and humble ourselves before the LORD? WHAT IF we take early retirement from judging and criticizing our neighbors? WHAT IF the shortness and uncertainty of life humbles us to defer to the LORD's will rather than our own? WHAT IF we know the good we ought to do and don't do it? WHAT IF we are rich from paying low wages? WHAT IF we have condemned and murdered innocent men not opposing us so we could live in luxury and self-indulgence?

WHAT IF trying my patience is a good exercise? WHAT IF self-discipline and patience, from hard times right down to whether you swear or not, are necessary parts of waiting for the LORD's return? WHAT IF your prayers are powerful and effective? WHAT IF you wander away from truth and another turns you from the error of your way? WHAT IF you turn a sinner to the Lord's way, save him (or her) from death, and cover over a multitude of sins?

"My one great desire has been to ask Christians whether they are really seeking to find out what exactly God wants them to be, and is willing to make them. It is only as they wait, 'that the mind of the Lord may be showed them'..." from Andrew Murray's The Two Covenants and the Second Blessing
Tomorrow's reading (June 17) Ezra 1-4 with commentary

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Copyright © Nancy Sween, 2003-

Today's Bible commentaries, mostly by Don and Nancy Sween, were first posted daily on the Today's Bible Commentary Blog from November 2003

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