Thursday, May 2, 2013

Faith that works (James 4) (Matt. 7:24-27, James 2:14-26)

This is the perfect time to put faith in action.  We're having a wonderful Spring this year in New Jersey.  The temperatures are in the 50's after 9am.  By May we're usually drenched in humidity and sweltering heat. 

In other states all sorts of weather events are taking place.  There's snow storms in the mid west and fires in California.  One of the islands in Washington is falling into the ocean.  I posted a Psalm a couple of years ago that describes how the earth was designed (link)- never holding still, always changing.  Our country is changing as well.  This is the first time I can remember, that I don't have medical insurance.  Companies are a lot more cautious now because of the government.  So my husband and I will need to wait awhile until he is vested in the company to get insurance.  A good test of our faith.

There's still no boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.  Homeowners are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.  It's hard for them.  They bought ocean front property thinking it would be a lot of fun to run outside and splash in the waves, to see the sunrises.  Instead it's turned into a nightmare.  It's hard to watch.  I can't help but wonder about the wisdom of building a house on sand, on a coastline that's changing.  All the dreams and memories swept out to sea must be heartbreaking.

Insurance companies want to charge a great deal of money to protect these homes and themselves.  Yet my heart goes out to those struggling.  Prayer for wisdom and understanding is probably the greatest gift we can give.

Jesus had something to say about houses built on sand.
24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
Matt 7:24-27 NKJV
God's Word is our rock.  It's solid and steady, no sinking in it.   The only catch is, God gave us His Word to do it.  The promise is that He will never leave us or forsake us.

James 2:14-26 
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 
A lot of people claim they believe in God yet don't want to invest any time into a relationship with Him.  When I spend time reading His Word (like today), I find encouragement and hope.

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 
There's a time to pray for people, for wisdom when they can't see it.  Then there's a time to pass out food, blankets and water.  I've seen many people who've naturally done this. I must admit going through the hurricane was much easier with my neighbors.

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
It's easy to say, "I'm a Christian."  The majority of Americans say this. I believe sometimes we are lazy about our faith.  It's not easy getting to Church every Sunday.

18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 
I've heard of Christians who have given great amounts of money to someone in need expecting nothing in return.  Then they receive more than they gave in the end.  If we truly believe God is real and present shouldn't it change how we act?  He has changed my heart from angry and bitter to joy.  And when I step out the joy is magnified.

19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!
Ouch.  This is true.  Most of the people I've met believe there is a God, yet they have no desire to know Him.

20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 
Abraham offered his one and only son to God at His request.  He had the knife ready and his heart was broken.  An angel stepped in and told Abraham that his willingness was enough to release his son.  He had a lot of faith.  God made His only Son a sacrifice for us.

22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 
God isn't looking for us to change the world.  He's looking for us to allow Him to change it through us.  By our faith.

23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 
What will happen next if I believe God?  I'm sure He has a lot more adventures for me.  I was out walking and taking photos on a trail, day before yesterday. I kept seeing this little dog running and catching a ball.  I had to smile and went closer to figure out what was going on.  There was an elderly lady sitting on a bench playing catch with her little dog.  I stopped to visit.  We became friends immediately.  God blessed us both.  Simply stopping to talk is a ministry.

24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 
Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho before David led Israel through.  She protected Israeli messengers that were sent in to scout out the city from being caught by the bad guys.  God isn't looking for perfect people- He's looking for open hearts.  He wants to use us to share His message of love and forgiveness in this fallen world.

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 


  1. Hi Karen,

    I'm so glad you are enjoying the nice weather. Especially after what you had to endure through that hurricane! But look at all the wisdom God gave you from that experience.
    I will pray for you as you wait for the insurance to kick in (We've been through that a few times too). Like you said, everything is changing, but God does not...If He can and will protect you through a hurricane and in times of little or plenty, then why would that change now?
    ~Love you, dear one~ God bless~

  2. So true Lisa! Thanks for your encouragement : ) I keep reminding myself that once everything settles it will be better than ever.
    God bless!

  3. Hi Karen,
    Well done. I think of a couple of passages of Scripture: Eph 2:8-10. We are saved by grace, not works. But it goes on to say in verse 10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. And the scripture which says that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. There is plenty to do, people need to see and experience the love of God through us believers. Our good works not only may help someone for a season, but also for eternity. Just think one day we are in heaven and someone comes up and says, "you were faithful to the Lord, and now I am here." How awesome that will be.
    Have a blessed weekend,

  4. Thanks Ken- I think of the Ephesians as well. It is by grace, we could never earn our salvation on our own works. Jesus' sacrifice is what saves us. There is plenty to do for sure. Just sharing God's love blesses both us and others it's cool how He let us be part of His plan : )

    Great comment! Thank you.