I am streamlining all my writing to one webpage
You can find Transformational Quest Devotional on my personal website:
Under the category Transformational Quest by D.G. Shipton
Thanks for your patience, I’ll be back next week.
Many people call the pastor to pray for every concern on their hearts, and we are to call on the elders when it’s serious. However, I have heard a pastor say that he was in a church where the bowling team called him and asked why he hadn’t come to pray for the team before a game.
I am sure that we’ve all experienced a time when we’ve been a small group study and someone says, “who’d like to pray,” and the room goes silent. My wife does her best with our children’s teaching at church to remind the kids it’s a privilege to be able to speak directly to the God of the universe, and that we all can speak to him any time.
James reminds us of one of the greatest prayers in the Bible, as Elijah prayed that there would be no rain, and it didn’t rain again until God told him to go and pray before the people three years later. This was to show God’s power over the false god’s and worship of Elijah’s time. James tells us one more important factor, “Elijah, a man like anyone else.” Wow, that is powerful. That means he’s just like me, or just like you. He’s a real person, and he prayed and God listened to his prayer.
That’s encouragement to me, and to you. We can all pray to God openly. Jesus opened the door through his sacrifice on our behalf, and anyone in faith can now seek God’s help directly. We don’t need middle-men or to feel our prayers are not heard. Instead, as the Hebrew writer says we can “Boldly approach” God’s throne with our needs.
God is waiting for you to talk with him, like a loving father waits to spend time with his children. We just have to start the conversation, because He’s always there.
Prayer: God, I pray today for those who might be struggling to turn to you in prayer. I pray that you will assure them that you are there listening and waiting to have a conversation with them today.
-Keep on your Journey with Jesus today
I have been in ministry for over twenty years, and I can honestly say no one, even some of the toughest non-believing people I’ve known, have ever said no to prayer when I offer it. However, I have seen many people go through situations, sickness, dangerous surgeries, and facing life threatening disease, and while they go to church they often resist sharing their needs with others.
Sharing our concerns and pains with others, for many people is to admit that we are weak and can’t handle things on our own. Many of us were brought up to simply “suck it up, and keep on.” The truth is this is not what community in the Bible is shown to be.
James reminds us to share your prayer’s and concerns with others. He also says to share your joys as well. Paul uses similar language in Colossians 3 & Ephesians 4, when he says to “bear with one another.” Part of the term “Bear with” means to hold up one another. That is what we do when we are sharing our needs with others. Burdens and concerns are hard to go through on our own, and God expects the Body of Christ to be in prayer for one another. That is why most of the Bible is written to the Churches or communities of believers and not to individuals.
What are you trying to bear alone today? If things are going well, how are you encouraging others on their journey today? Look for opportunity to bless others and help them bear their burden’s. Offer your prayers, and remember to pray and follow up with them.
Prayer: May God bless you this day with His goodness. May he strengthen your life so you may strengthen others.
James 5:12 (NIV)
Above 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.
Honesty is the best policy, that’s what the old saying says. James is also giving wisdom that is very old, as he reminds us to be honest. Jesus had given the same guidance as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:37)
It seems so simply to live honestly, to simply say yes or know and stick with your choice. However, in our world today we are bombarded with people telling us that we can’t trust anything as true. We also are encouraged by so many to cut corners, or take things that truly are not ours. The thought by many is that it isn’t hurting anyone, especially if it only affects a corporation. The truth is that even the smallest dishonest actions have consequences to the whole world we live in
James gives a simple rule, “Let your yes be yes”.
Let us strive to live in honesty with ourselves and everyone around us.
Prayer: God, please forgive our weakness. Help us to live in honesty always.
I appreciate James’ words in this passage about being patient. I think we all need the reminder to be patient from time to time. James uses the example of farmers, and I snicker. I once had a farmer tell me, “We farmers only work about six weeks a year. three weeks of planting, and three weeks of harvesting. The rest of the time we worry.”
Patience also means we should be calm and not worry, even when everything in our being wants to worry. Life often throws us into situations where we can become overwhelmed with our own weakness and worry can set in. Then we become reactionary toward situations. Instead of praying, waiting, and trusting God; we start to take matters into our own hands. My experience has taught me that when we take matters in our own hands we often fail and situations usually become worse.
James is reminding people who are facing true suffering and even death that patience and waiting on the Lord prove to be the best help during stressful times. We get stressed out today because the alarm doesn’t go off on time, are coffee spills on a new shirt, or someone hasn’t texted us back as fast as we’d like. In the greater picture of eternity these insignificant things will fade away. What matters most is how your faith in God, and love for others in the world has truly been lived out.
Take some time to day, and think about what is stressing you in your life. Have you really given it over to Jesus? Are you trying to bear burden’s alone in patient trust? God is waiting for you to lay it down, so he can fill you with his calm assurance.
Please help us to face our trials and hardships, our stresses in your loving hands instead of our weak power. Let us learn to trust you and be filled with your strength to face whatever you allow into our lives. Amen.
I sat in my study listening to a man who was clearly upset and disturbed. He was upset with his boss, because of unreasonable schedules, lack of raises, and generally feeling unappreciated. He was looking for a new job.
I will never forget his words, “That’s the last time I will ever work for a Christian. I though somehow it would be different working for a Christian brother. Instead I’ve found out I was just being used.”
It is unfortunate, but this isn’t the only time I’ve heard similar words. Many Christian business people hire people they know from church or other organizations. Then, they treat them worse than many worldly companies. Why would someone do that? It seems they take advantage of their close ties and even twist biblical understanding to make it easier to use people instead of blessing them with their wealth from gained profits. When profits grow they seem to forget those who were in it with them, and those they should be blessing along the way.
James is warning rich people that their wealth, like everyone’s wealth is only temporary. Even more, he warns us that how we use our money and blessings will come back to judge our lives in the end. You see, God has a way of balancing things out. It may not be in this lifetime, but may come as we face the future in heaven. Everyone will be held accountable and will give account of how they treated others.
If you are blessed with God’s goodness, how are you doing about sharing that goodness with others? If your blessed with a business or in management you should seek God’s guidance in how to manage and pass on blessings to others. We must never forget that the blessings we have are not simply because of ourselves, but are due to the goodness of God. He doesn’t give us good things to hoard, but to bless.
Father God, we thank you for your blessings and goodness that you have given into our lives. We thank you for the opportunity to pass on blessings to others. Help us to manage well and help us to share what we have as much as we can. We ask you help in this through your Spirit’s help. Amen
Do you lay your plans before the Lord? When ideas come into your heart do you pray about them or simply just jump in?
There are times to jump in or take leaps of faith, but James reminds us to lay our plans before God. This wisdom comes down through time, right back to Proverbs of the Old Testament. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord ’s purpose that prevails,” (Proverbs 19:21).
James reminds us not to boast on an unknown future. Instead we should make plans knowing God knows the future, and seek His will and direction forward.
God, help us took seek your guidance and will for our lives. Let us judge our steps by you Word. Amen.
James has been speaking of fighting among people, and now gets to the heart of things. Disagreements not only come from our own personal desire, but often come from how we judge others. All too often people look at a distance on the lives of others and judge them, predetermining that they are not worthy or are inferior. This is because we raise our own standards and think we are better than they.
James doesn’t mince words in this part of his letter, but tells us that we should beware of putting ourselves in the judges seat. After all their is only one eternal judge, God, and we are not as wise, all knowing, or knowledgeable as God. Yet, it is easy to fall prey to the idea of putting ourselves in his place, as we judge others.
James give us the answer, submit. This means to willingly place ourselves under another. James says, “submit yourselves, to God,” (v.7). When we put ourselves under God’s rule, then we can leave the judging up to him. This allows us to live in a mutual respect and humble attitude toward others.
Father God, help us today to not think ourselves better than others, but to realize you are in control of all things. Let us leave matters of judgement to you and love others in sincere and humble ways. Thank you for your help Lord. Amen.