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October 25, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for James 4-5

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Context: In chapter 4, James addresses a difficult topic: prayer.  Some people give up on prayer when their prayer is not answered in the way that they wished.  Others cannot imagine their life without prayer.  What causes such opposite reactions?  The heart of those praying.  James, darkly and bluntly, paints a picture of a group who is praying for themselves to get what they want, without thought or regard to the Lord’s plan for their lives.  When they are not given what they want, they fight and quarrel amongst themselves.  Prayer is a way to communicate our wants and desires to the Lord and He will always answers us.  We just have to keep in mind that “No!” is an answer too!!  Our activities should be centered on the Lord’s plan for our life and when we are called to action, we should not postpone, because we never know what could happen.  James also warns of being rich and pursuing wealth, especially when abandoning the Lord’s work to do it!  Being wealthy is not a sin, how that wealth is obtained and used can be sinful.  Those who lack wealth, must be patience and endure for the Lord.  In today’s fast-paced, instant gratification, “I want it now” society, these words should be carefully studied.  The Lord’s pace may seem slow to us, but, like farmers, that patience can result in a great harvest.  In concluding his letter, James once again turns to prayer.  No matter our circumstances — joy, pain, misery, or happiness — we should turn to the Lord, just as the prophets of old.

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