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Journey to Bethlehem Day 19

Thursday, December 19 James 5:7-20

7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

The Book of James is filled with practical wisdom for Christians, calling us to live out genuine faith through good works (be doers of the Word, not merely hearers” (1:22). we cannot stand up to trials by our own abilities. Without faith we could never find the strength to trust God; we would never be able to be doers.
And in these concluding words of James he tells us to be patient. That is really, really, hard for anyone. However, when the Lord returns everything will be make right. In verses 7-11, James repeats in different ways that the Lord is returning and for us to be steadfast, patient, long-suffering in our trials while we are looking for the Lord’s return. Hang in there, the Lord will return.
As we wait for the Lord’s return let us show evidence of being doers by being sensitive to the needs of others, endure with patience as Job did, pray with faith as we wait, don’t grumble and groan about others. Remember in all we do that the Lord will return at his appointed time.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time. In the places of uncertainty, may you know God’s peace. In the places of grief, may you know God’s comfort and care. In the places of weariness, may you know God’s rest. Amen