Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read the letter of James who was the first bishop of Jerusalem. He writes to the Jewish Christians that live outside of the Holy Land. Speech is important to James and if we should gossip, speak ill of others or take the Lord’s name in vain, we are showing that we really don’t belong to the Lord.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he says that everything in the world is worthless when we compare it to Jesus. We should surround ourselves with good things so that they will shape our hearts and minds.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 From James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion.
2 My brothers, consider it a great joy when trials of many kinds come upon you,
3 for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and
4 perseverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way.
5 Any of you who lacks wisdom must ask God, who gives to all generously and without scolding; it will be given.
6 But the prayer must be made with faith, and no trace of doubt, because a person who has doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea by the buffeting of the wind.
7 That sort of person, in two minds,
8 inconsistent in every activity, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
9 It is right that the brother in humble circumstances should glory in being lifted up,
10 and the rich in being brought low. For the rich will last no longer than the wild flower;
11 the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, its flower falls, its beauty is lost. It is the same with the rich: in the middle of a busy life, the rich will wither.
12 Blessed is anyone who perseveres when trials come. Such a person is of proven worth and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13 Never, when you are being put to the test, say, ‘God is tempting me’; God cannot be tempted by evil, and he does not put anybody to the test .
14 Everyone is put to the test by being attracted and seduced by that person’s own wrong desire.
15 Then the desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches full growth, it gives birth to death.
16 Make no mistake about this, my dear brothers:
17 all that is good, all that is perfect, is given us from above; it comes down from the Father of all light; with him there is no such thing as alteration, no shadow caused by change.
18 By his own choice he gave birth to us by the message of the truth so that we should be a sort of first-fruits of all his creation.
19 Remember this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to human anger;
20 God’s saving justice is never served by human anger;
21 so do away with all impurities and remnants of evil. Humbly welcome the Word which has been planted in you and can save your souls.
22 But you must do what the Word tells you and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves.
23 Anyone who listens to the Word and takes no action is like someone who looks at his own features in a mirror and,
24 once he has seen what he looks like, goes off and immediately forgets it.
25 But anyone who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and keeps to it — not listening and forgetting, but putting it into practice — will be blessed in every undertaking.
26 Nobody who fails to keep a tight rein on the tongue can claim to be religious; this is mere self-deception; that person’s religion is worthless.
27 Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father, is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows in their hardships, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.
1 My brothers, do not let class distinction enter into your faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord.
2 Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, well-dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes,
3 and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats’; then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.’
4 In making this distinction among yourselves have you not used a corrupt standard?
5 Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who were poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him.
6 You, on the other hand, have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who lord it over you?
7 Are not they the ones who drag you into court, who insult the honourable name which has been pronounced over you?
8 Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme Law of scripture: you will love your neighbour as yourself;
9 but as soon as you make class distinctions, you are committing sin and under condemnation for breaking the Law.
10 You see, anyone who keeps the whole of the Law but trips up on a single point, is still guilty of breaking it all.
11 He who said, ‘You must not commit adultery’ said also, ‘You must not kill.’ Now if you commit murder, you need not commit adulteryas well to become a breaker of the Law.
12 Talk and behave like people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom.
13 Whoever acts without mercy will be judged without mercy but mercy can afford to laugh at judgement.
14 How does it help, my brothers, when someone who has never done a single good act claims to have faith? Will that faith bring salvation?
15 If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on,
16 and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that?
17 In the same way faith, if good deeds do not go with it, is quite dead.
18 But someone may say: So you have faith and I have good deeds? Show me this faith of yours without deeds, then! It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.
19 You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but even the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear.
20 Fool! Would you not like to know that faith without deeds is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by his deed, because he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 So you can see that his faith was working together with his deeds; his faith became perfect by what he did.
23 In this way the scripture was fulfilled: Abraham put his faith in God, and this was considered as making him upright; and he received the name ‘friend of God’.
24 You see now that it is by deeds, and not only by believing, that someone is justified.
25 There is another example of the same kind: Rahab the prostitute, was she not justified by her deeds because she welcomed the messengers and showed them a different way to leave?
26 As a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without deeds.
1 Finally, brothers, I wish you joy in the Lord. To write to you what I have already written before is no trouble to me and to you will be a protection.
2 Beware of dogs! Beware of evil workmen! Beware of self-mutilators!
3 We are the true people of the circumcision since we worship by the Spirit of God and make Christ Jesus our only boast, not relying on physical qualifications,
4 although, I myself could rely on these too. If anyone does claim to rely on them, my claim is better.
5 Circumcised on the eighth day of my life, I was born of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. In the matter of the Law, I was a Pharisee;
6 as for religious fervour, I was a persecutor of the Church; as for the uprightness embodied in the Law, I was faultless.
7 But what were once my assets I now through Christ Jesus count as losses.
8 Yes, I will go further: because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ
9 and be given a place in him, with the uprightness I have gained not from the Law, but through faith in Christ, an uprightness from God, based on faith,
10 that I may come to know him and the power of his resurrection, and partake of his sufferings by being moulded to the pattern of his death,
11 striving towards the goal of resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have secured it already, nor yet reached my goal, but I am still pursuing it in the attempt to take hold of the prize for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13 Brothers, I do not reckon myself as having taken hold of it; I can only say that forgetting all that lies behind me, and straining forward to what lies in front,
14 I am racing towards the finishing-point to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
15 So this is the way in which all of us who are mature should be thinking, and if you are still thinking differently in any way, then God has yet to make this matter clear to you.
16 Meanwhile, let us go forward from the point we have each attained.
17 Brothers, be united in imitating me. Keep your eyes fixed on those who act according to the example you have from me.
18 For there are so many people of whom I have often warned you, and now I warn you again with tears in my eyes, who behave like the enemies of Christ’s cross.
19 They are destined to be lost; their god is the stomach; they glory in what they should think shameful, since their minds are set on earthly things.
20 But our homeland is in heaven and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transfigure the wretched body of ours into the mould of his glorious body, through the working of the power which he has, even to bring all things under his mastery.
1 So then, my brothers and dear friends whom I miss so much, my joy and my crown, hold firm in the Lord, dear friends.
2 I urge Euodia, and I urge Syntyche to come to agreement with each other in the Lord;
3 and I ask you, Syzygus, really to be a ‘partner’ and help them. These women have struggled hard for the gospel with me, along with Clement and all my other fellow-workers, whose names are written in the book of life.
4 Always be joyful, then, in the Lord; I repeat, be joyful.
5 Let your good sense be obvious to everybody. The Lord is near.
6 Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude,
7 and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honourable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire — with whatever is good and praiseworthy.
9 Keep doing everything you learnt from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
10 As for me, I am full of joy in the Lord, now that at last your consideration for me has blossomed again; though I recognise that you really did have consideration before, but had no opportunity to show it.
11 I do not say this because I have lacked anything; I have learnt to manage with whatever I have.
12 I know how to live modestly, and I know how to live luxuriously too: in every way now I have mastered the secret of all conditions: full stomach and empty stomach, plenty and poverty.
13 There is nothing I cannot do in the One who strengthens me.
14 All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships.
15 In the early days of the gospel, as you of Philippi well know, when I left Macedonia, no church other than yourselves made common account with me in the matter of expenditure and receipts. You were the only ones;
16 and what is more, you have twice sent me what I needed in Thessalonica.
17 It is not the gift that I value most; what I value is the interest that is mounting up in your account.
18 I have all that I need and more: I am fully provided, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the offering that you sent, a pleasing smell, the sacrifice which is acceptable and pleasing to God.
19 And my God will fulfil all your needs out of the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 And so glory be to God our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.
21 My greetings to every one of God’s holy people in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings.
22 All God’s holy people send you their greetings, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh, of Massa. Prophecy of this man for Ithiel, for Ithiel and for Ucal.
2 I am myself the stupidest of people, bereft of human intelligence,
3 I have not learnt wisdom, and I lack the knowledge of the holy ones.
4 Who has mounted to the heavens, then come down again? Who has gathered the wind in the clasp of his hand? Who has wrapped the waters in his cloak? Who has set all the ends of the earth firm? What is his name? What is his child’s name? Do you know?
5 Every word of God is unalloyed, a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 To his words make no addition, lest he reprove you and account you a liar.