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Who are the people of faith who have helped you ‘hang in there’ in hard times?


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Bible passage James 5:7–12


Patience in Suffering
 7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

 10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider 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.

 12Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


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The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Difficulty
A few years ago I set out on a swim across the bay from Sydney’s Manly Beach to nearby Shelley Beach and back. A storm was coming and the waves were bigger than usual. I noticed that the currents were making my swim unusually tiring.

On the second leg, it occurred to me that I was out of my depth. I started to panic. But then in the distance I saw two swimmers ahead of me. It was enough to keep me going. I followed them all the way into Manly Beach.

Endurance
As James comes to the end of his letter, he returns to the theme of endurance, introduced in 1:2–4,12–15. He repeats the ideas around patience, waiting and steadfastness, using the Old Testament examples of the prophets and Job to remind his audience of those who have gone before, those who persevered to the end, despite hard times.

The patience that Job showed was not passive or timid. He had many questions of God, but he kept the faith. Likewise, the ‘stand firm’ of verse 8 implies a steely resolve and determination, the opposite of the ‘double-minded’ believer we met in 1:8. Living in the light of the thought that Jesus will return will also help us to have a new perspective (vs 7–9).


Respond


Read Hebrews 12:1,2. Thank God for those people of faith who have helped you to persevere.

Michelle Smart


Deeper Bible study


Quickly list to God the pressing concerns on your mind – then place them one by one into an imaginary box and put the box to one side.

Few of us outgrow our childhood impatience. We’d rather have the short than the long haul, a frame of mind encouraged by the ‘I want it and I want it now’ culture in which we live. James here returns to his earlier concerns, patient perseverance and control of what we say, jumping abruptly from one to the other. Why? Because they’re clearly closely related. When I’m impatient and stressed I sometimes say things that I later regret.

From a positive point of view, James gives examples of patience. First, the farmer, who cannot hurry the process of crop growth (v 7). Second, he makes reference to the myriad prophets (and Job) whose stories of patience would be known in detail by his Jewish Christian audience (vs 10,11). And always, when patience is sustained, there is confirmation of the end in sight, the harvest for the farmer, God’s working throughout history and finally the assured coming of the Lord in glory (vs 7,8).

From a practical point of view, James tackles the words we fall into using when stressed and impatient. Don’t grumble (easily done when someone appears to let us down) and don’t swear. Grumbling affects our perceptions of one another and undermines our relationships, a key concern for James. It is uncertain whether ‘swearing’ (v 12) here means making false promises, light use of God’s name or other vulgar language. What matters is that we should practise integrity and clarity in everything we say: ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no’ (see v 12). As James emphasised in 3:1–12, the human tongue requires careful control. Uncontrolled, it can cause great damage. There’s another good reason for guarding our speech: Jesus, when he returns, will come both as Lord and as Judge – and his return is always imminent (v 9b)!

Brian Radcliffe


Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Jeremiah 5,6

John 3
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For the Lord is coming!


James 5, which we study towards the end of this week, contains some strong warnings and some godly advice. Listen to this dramatic portrayal to help you absorb the messages in a fresh way.

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Audio


Above All Else
Vicky Beeching
Copyright © 2001 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.vineyardrecords.co.uk



I will offer up my life
Matt Redman
Copyright © 1994 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com




Comments
  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Then we can't go wrong.

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Just say a simple 'yes' or 'no'.........no need to explain further or get irritated but peacefully walk on and be true to our Lord and Saviour. The aim is to harvest a genuine Christ-filled life in its purity and power. The Holy Spirit is the refreshment we receive to give us strength to grow, while we wait.........

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 06 October 2017

    I've sometimes turned down Church of England study courses. However, one of the churches in the town is emerging from a very negative time, and I feel that to join the Pilgrim course will help in my understanding of where they are. I've found it really worthwhile, and thought provoking! This is the second course concentrating on the Lord's Prayer. As above result, the question arises, if we pray United "Thy Will be done, Thy Kingdom come on earth", will it bring the Arrival of The Lord closer?

  • Ruth Chisholm | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Keith pleased to hear the outcome for your church appointment. May the Lord bless him and your church as he prepares to join you.

  • Eileen Smith | Friday, 06 October 2017

    KEITH--thank you for the update-- I,pray that you will all go forward in unity & with a sense of excited anticipation as you look to what God has planned for the next stage in your church's life & amen to RUTH's prayer

  • Derek Forster | Friday, 06 October 2017

    ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed! Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath bro’t me safe this far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures

  • Lynda Spencer | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Once again I have found myself playing 'catch-up' with the daily comments. What a wealth of helpful and encouraging, as well as challenging, comments over the last few days. Thank you. THELMA, I emailed SU twice, last weekend and at the beginning of this week, to request that you might be given my email address. I haven't heard anything from them to either confirm or deny that my request can be met, but whatever happens I continue to pray for you and Don. God bless you.

  • Lynda Spencer | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Oops Thelma, and for Colin too!

  • Rae Bigwood | Friday, 06 October 2017

    I have an electrician doing a rewire on a house for us and so far it has taken 6 weeks to nearly reach first fix. There have been many absences in this time and I am finding all these comments helpful in directing me how to deal with this situation. I have paid him up to first fix all ready but he now wants more. Lots of prayers needed for my wife and I as we learn to deal with this the Lord's way. Thankyou.

  • Colin Stevens | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Lynda, Thank you

  • Tim Berry | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Hi Rae, as Christians it is clearly right for us to cheerfully pay for anything that is done for us. However it is also usual to pay after the job is completed. This prevents unscrupulous traders from taking your money and then not doing the job. My advice would certainly be not to pay for the whole job before it is completed. I will pray for you to have wisdom from God to know what to say to this electrician regarding payment when the job is completed.

  • Ruth Lewis | Friday, 06 October 2017

    RAE, I will be praying for this situation. My husband and I have experienced similar situations. Not so much with the electric, but with the roof over our house and other smaller projects. Please know our prayers are being prayed for you and the workman also.

  • Ruth Lewis | Friday, 06 October 2017

    I am echoing everything TIM wrote!!! It is very good advice. A little down payment is one thing, but not the whole amount.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 06 October 2017

    If electrician working on tight budget I would have thought paying for material up front is okay but not for man hours.

  • Keith Dearden | Friday, 06 October 2017

    RUTH and EILEEN, many thanks for your prayers and continued support.

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 06 October 2017

    My husband often had to tell his sister not to pay before the work was completed ,and often she did just that and then would be ringing us to say they had not turned up to finish the work. Workers of repute will take money for materials and the labour charges on completion. RAE this is a learning curve for you and your wife and as Christians just be kind but firm in your dealings with the workers. The labourer is worthy of his hire. But just ask for Spiritual guidance as to whether or not they are scrupulous. This week my husband agreed with a man to take down and remove an old hut in our garden this young man was one of our boys in our Jesus and Me club some years ago, he was a quiet well behaved youngster and we had no problems engaging him. He agreed a price on completion, he came round when the hut was taken down and my husband gave him two thirds of the agreed price, three days later the hut was still not taken away and he came down for the rest of the money, my husband told him the rest of the money would be paid when he had fulfilled his agreement .Another promise was made and another two days elapsed so we got someone else to take away the hut and paid him. The young man arrived again and my husband told him that he would not give him the rest of the money as he had broken his promise. The young man we subsequently found out has a criminal record and has spent time in prison. We both spoke to him about making promises and not keeping them. We are now wise to his behaviour but learned in the process about being wise Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But beware of men ........

  • Rae Bigwood | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Thankyou for your comments and especially prayers. My wife spoke with him today and we agreed a small additional increment to the first payment. I'm praying that no bad feeling will be created as she has known this man since childhood (he has also been to prison). I have managed with God's help to temper my response which in the past would have been more direct. Thankyou Father for your teachings here on Wordlive. They have definitely helped me approach this situation with fresh eyes.

  • WordLive Admin | Friday, 06 October 2017

    Hi Lynda, we're sorry to hear that you're struggling to make contact with SU. Which email address have you been messaging? The office is closed over the weekend but if you email wordlive@scriptureunion.org.uk someone should be able to respond to you on Monday.

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