Word of Encouragement from Pastor Eugene Thursday, September 10, 2020

My grandmother had a practice of reading the book of James every day.  While I do not have that same practice, I still enjoy reading James.  It is perhaps the first New Testament book to have been written.  James states that he is writing to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad—the Jews, those of Israel who had become Christians.  His overall theme seems to be that if you really have faith, your actions will show it—be a doer of the word and not a hearer only (James 1:22).   The book has been described as ‘The New Testament Book of Proverbs’ and ‘The How-to Book on Christian Living’.
There is an old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but ‘words’ will never harm me.”  If there ever were an ‘untruth’, that saying certainly is.  The words that we speak can be so damaging to others.  Some of my greatest challenges have been forgiving others of what they have said to me.  James addresses the problem of controlling the tongue (what we say) in Chapter 3.  He compares it to a tiny spark that can literally start a forest fire.  “How can blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth?” he asks.  This reminds me of Jesus saying that from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.  I know for myself; I really try to watch (guard) what I say but sometimes—out it comes.  Then when I realize what I have said and try to do damage control—apologize, ask for forgiveness, fix it, make it right—it is not easily done.  Sometimes it may never really get fixed with the person I have harmed with my words.  God forgive me!
If you haven’t read the book of James in a while, you might want to do so again.  There are a lot of pointers on how-to live as a Christian and the benefits of doing so.  Most of these points seem to be delivered in such a way as to encourage the believer to practice (to do) them in lieu of just talking about it.  A modern rendering of James 3:18 reads as follows: “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness”.  Want to be a peacemaker? Be encouraged and lifted up!
Pastor Eugene
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