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Jim Class Day 42

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Scripture: James 5:19-20 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Devotional: Have you ever lost something that’s important to you?  

I’ll never forget on the day of my mother’s funeral, when our precious cocker spaniel, Princess, bolted out the door as guests were making their way in and out.  She was known to be a “runner” and we always had to be careful about guarding those openings.  And run she did.  

At that moment, I couldn’t bear another loss.  And so, I hysterically ran out the door with all my might, determined that this dog would not be lost to me.  I desperately searched the neighborhood, imagining all the horrible things that could happen to her.  First on foot, and then driving around in the car, I combed every street and ally way until I finally found her.  And relief and joy flooded my soul.  I loved that stupid dog, and would have done anything to get her back.  

As trite as my experience with my dog might seem, it is one that always connects me to this passage.  As much as I loved my dog, that’s how much God loves you and me, and every other person created in His image.  And exceedingly, abundantly more than that.  More than you and I can imagine.  

That is why James places such importance on chasing down the one who has wandered (or run) from the truth.  Because God loves and values that person.  And so must you.  

Reflect:

  • Who do you know, or who is God laying on your heart right now, that may need to be “brought back” home to God’s loving arms?  
  • What truth could you speak into their life to help facilitate that restoration? Remember this could mean the difference between eternal life and death.
  • Consider inviting that person or persons to our Easter service at the Tyson. 

 

Jim Class Day 41

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Scripture: James 5:13-18  13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Devotional: Prayer. Praise. Confession.  James is encouraging all these expressions to be practiced toward God and with one another.  Our prayers, praises and confessions are not to be shrouded in privacy. They are meant to be shared.  In other words, it’s part of Biblical community.  

 That is why we gather each week to worship God.  We sing songs of praise. We pray together.  We confess our sins and commune together, remembering our Lord’s sacrifice, all in a common setting.  But with a church our size, there’s still a bit of anonymity in the midst of our gatherings.  It would seem what James is referring to in this passage is much more intimate.  

That’s precisely why we say that life change happens best in the context of a small group. When you regularly gather with others to praise, pray and confess, something powerful takes hold in the midst of authentic Biblical community.  Barriers are broken, grace is given, healing is facilitated, and growth is exponential. Support is given, love is cultivated and accountability abounds.  

 And that is evidence of what James is encouraging the church to be.  

Reflect:

  • Are you currently experiencing regular, ongoing, authentic Biblical community?  If not, what is keeping you from connecting with others in this way?
  • Fear?
  • Busyness?
  • Lack of desire?

Consider making this a priority in your life.  Ask God to change your thinking if you’re struggling with following through.  Contact Laurie Van Cura at   for help in taking a next step. 

 

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