I’ve been studying Daniel with Proverbs 31 Ministries and the book of James with Jen Wilkin. Both of these books are filled with life giving wisdom. I wouldn’t normally study these two books together and I don’t really know how it came about, but it did. When I’m in between studies at church, I pick up studies from some of my favorite teachers. Sometimes it is hard to choose, and I dive into more than one. Here are some things God has been writing on my heart through Daniel and James.
I’m in a place of wanting nothing but Jesus. You might say this wanting is worthy. But, is it? How do we go from wanting to doing? Doing nothing but the business of our Lord. I study, read, journal, pray, go to church, but yet there are still times my flesh fails. I hear Jesus’ words ringing, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Am I just a hearer and not a doer? Oh Jesus, I want to move into a place where the failings are less and less. I desire to trust you completely with my family, ministry and even my frail heart. I want to be mature and complete , lacking nothing just as James speaks of in chapter 1. But, the more days that pile up behind me, heartache is evident and rejoicing in all things sometimes is awfully difficult. So, when my soul is parched and my flesh is weak, what shall I do? I feel as though I’m doing most of the right things, but yet my heart feels far from you.
The truths I hear the Lord whispering as I study his word are:
~Do not turn to worldly comforts. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? James 4:4 The worldly things my flesh turns to will never quench my thirsty soul.
~Do not isolate. He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. Proverbs 18:1 I need God and his people.
~Keep reading God’s Word. If you can’t concentrate to read, listen to wise Godly teaching. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalms 119:105
~Love and serve others. Indeed, if you fulfill the royal law prescribed in the scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. James 2:8 Serving takes the focus off of me. It’s not about me; it’s all about Jesus our wonderful gracious Savior who loves us despite these selfish crises we go through. He’s loving me, teaching me and guiding me even now. He hasn’t left me, even in my selfishness.
~Walk in obedience, even if your heart doesn’t feel ready. Be a doer of the word, not just a hearer only. James 1:22 Never have I looked back and regretted being obedient to the Lord.
~Remember and recite God’s promises. God is faithful. God is good. He is almighty. He is everlasting. The Lord provides for and protects his children. He saves. God loves us.
You will see God’s mighty hand working good. When we humbly submit ourselves to the Spirit’s instruction, the Lord does a good work in us and through us. Hang in there brothers and sisters! Hold onto the Lord’s hand. He is working miracles! Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego can attest to these miracles.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted and obeyed in awfully hard circumstances with bravery. Oh and James he was straight forward when addressing the persecuted Jewish Christians of the early church. He told them exactly how they should live. If you haven’t read these two books of the Bible, read them, maybe not at the same time, but they are worth your time.
Lord, forgive us when our flesh is weak and we fail you. Help us become mature and complete in you. May we obey and be brave under difficult circumstances. And help us obey your direct calls of obedience you call us to in the book of James. May we be hearers and doers of your word.