OceanSide church of Christ

Read devotionals for March 2019

April 1, 2019

James 2:24 – Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Thought: It is comical this is the only time the words “faith” and “only” are used together in the entire Bible. Instead of upholding the doctrine of faith only, they refute the doctrine. Man is NOT justified by faith only. A man is justified by works according to James. Remember, these works are works of obedience to the commands of God. It is interesting the Greek word translated “justified” here is the same one found in Romans 5:1, translated “justified” also.

Hebrews 5:9

April 2, 2019

James 2:25 – Like also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

Thought: James sets forth another example of a faith that works. Rahab was a resident of the city of Jericho. Instead of aligning herself with her heathen rulers, she committed herself to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Her faith led her to protect the spies who had come into the land of Canaan to survey the people, the cities, and the land itself. It is this kind of a faith that saves, an active faith!

Hebrews 11:31

April 3, 2019

James 2:26 – For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Thought: There are many things that are dependent upon one another. They body and the spirit work in unison. If the spirit leaves the body, the body is dead. It becomes inactive. It can accomplish absolutely nothing. A similar relationship exists between faith and works. If faith does not work, it is a dead faith. A dead faith accomplishes nothing. It certainly cannot save the lost. When faith combines with works, faith is living, active, vibrant, and strong.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

April 4, 2019

James 3:1 – My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Thought: The word “masters” means “teachers.” It seems strange for James to say: “Be not many teachers.” We know that teachers are often in short supply. We need as many as we can possibly get. The reason he says this is because of the seriousness of the position. Those who assume a teaching position are supposed to study, learn, live, and teach the truth of God’s Word. A failure to do this will bring upon them what James calls “the greater condemnation.” Teaching involves a higher standard.

Luke 12:47-48

April 5, 2019

James 3:2 – For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

Thought: Teaching involves the use to the tongue so James naturally enters into a discussion of the use of the tongue. He begins with the type of person who can control his tongue. He refers to him as “a perfect man.” He is mature. He is seasoned. He is full-grown. His life not only exhibits discipline when he speaks, but he has also learned to bridle his entire body. This is true because the tongue is difficult to tame. If it can be harnessed, the rest of the body is much easier to discipline.

Proverbs 13:3

April 6, 2019

James 3:3 – Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

Thought: James sets for some illustrations of little things that are very powerful. One of them is a bit that is put into a horse’s mouth. The horse is large, strong, and powerful. However, by the use of a bit, a man can control this magnificent animal. Let’s not forget James’ purpose. He wants to remind us of just how powerful our little tongues are.

Proverbs 18:21

April 7, 2019

James 3:4 – Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

Thought: This is James’ second illustration about the power of small things. A ship is easily turned by its rudder. Thousands and thousands of pounds are maneuvered by a very small object, even in the midst of fierce winds in the sea. Again, the illustration is really being applied to the words that come forth from our mouths. What we say can have a powerful impact for good or evil.

Proverbs 10:31

April 8, 2019

James 3:5 – Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

Thought: James now makes the application of his illustrations to the tongue. He then gives another illustration. What began as little fires have often become raging wild fires. The spark of a match, or, an unattended campfire have caused untold damage to property and life. Sometimes we forget just how powerful our tongues are. We need to be reminded often. We all must think before we speak.

Jeremiah 9:3-5

April 9, 2019

James 3:6 – And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and is set on fire of hell.

Thought: James fills this verse with truths about the tongue. It is a fire. It is a world of iniquity. It defileth the whole body. It setteth on fire the course of nature. It is set on fire of hell. The tongue has been a very evil device among men. The tongue has destroyed marriages, friendships, powerful men, and nations. If not contained, the tongue’s evil effects will be greater than the deepest ocean.

Psalm 140:1-3

April 10, 2019

James 3:7 – For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind.

Thought: Man has tamed all kinds of creatures that exist on the earth. We see evidence of this when we go to Sea World or to the circus. Too, law enforcement and the military have trained dogs for years to perform very unique services. Yes, man has the ability to train all kinds of animals from parakeets to killer whales. There is one thing that he has not been able to bring under control. It is his tongue.

I Kings 10:22-25

April 11, 2019

James 3:8 – But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Thought: Yes, man has tamed the animals, but his tongue he has not been able to tame. About the time he thinks he has it under control, it slips. It says something rude. He says a curse word. He speaks evil of another. He spreads gossip. He tells a lie. He boasts and brags. He is quickly reminded of how unruly the tongue is and how difficult it is to tame. Its poison can be unleashed at a moment’s notice. How it is that we can tame the animal kingdom, but cannot tame our own tongue?

Romans 3:13-14

April 12, 2019

James 3:9 – Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

Thought: We often forget that man is created in the image of God. The things that we do to our fellowman we would never do to God. We bless God, but we curse men. If we truly remembered, how God created man, we would not be as quick to do this. Blessing God and cursing man is hypocritical. My friend, before we despise and curse another human, let’s give serious thought to our actions.

Genesis 1:26-27

April 13, 2019

James 3:10 – Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Thought: The Bible teaches that there are some things that just should not be done. Using the tongue for ungodly purposes is one of these things. Using the tongue in hypocritical ways should not be done. Blessing God and cursing man should not be done. We must learn to bridle our tongues. We must give diligence to bring the tongue under control. This will take vigilance every hour of the day.

I Peter 3:9-10

April 14, 2019

James 3:11 – Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

Thought: Fountains do not produce bitter water and sweet water at the same time. They are consistent. Fountains give either good water or bad water. We should be like the fountain. Preferably, we should send forth good water all of the time. We are not always successful, however. From our lips often flow good and bad things almost simultaneously. We all need to work on disciplining our tongues and being consistent in our speech. Remember, our tongues should be part of pure religion.

Luke 6:43-45

April 15, 2019

James 3:12 – Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Thought: In our Christian life, we need to have a consistent presentation to others. This includes our words and our behaviors. This is what is true in the natural world. Figs produce figs. A vine produces grapes. A fountain either yields salt water or fresh water. When we fluctuate and vacillate in our conversation, we are either immature, undisciplined, unfaithful, or all three. “Father, help us to be steady and consistent in living the Christian life at all times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Matthew 12:33

April 16, 2019

James 3:13 – Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Thought: One of the requirements of the Christian life is to grow in knowledge. When a man has attained knowledge, he is also obligated to put that knowledge into practice in his life. A head full of knowledge with no application is like gas in a car without the engine running. James says: “Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” Meekness of wisdom involves the willingness of the individual to submit himself to the wisdom and will of God.

Matthew 7:24

April 17, 2019

James 3:14 – But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Thought: There are times when we try to live a conflicted life. We live a life that conflicts with the truth, but will affirm that we are living in harmony with the truth. James gives an example of such a life. There are some people whose spirit is infected with envy toward others. This envy drives them to create strife in the body of Christ. Such people should not glory. Too, they should not boast of a faithful Christian life. To do so is to lie against the truth.

I Peter 2:1-2

April 18, 2019

James 3:15 – This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Thought: James says that wisdom that is envious and that creates strife and division is not from above. The words, “from above,” mean from God. God’s wisdom envies not. God’ wisdom creates unity and harmony. Wisdom that divides is earthly, sensual, and devilish. That last term is extremely informative. James says that such wisdom proceeds from the evil one himself. Those who relish strife and division need to be reminded from whence their wisdom comes. It is not from God.

I Corinthians 3:1-3

April 19, 2019

James 3:16 – For where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Thought: Nothing productive and successful comes from strife and envy. Those things only encourage anger, hatred, fighting, and division. Instead of unity, there is confusion. Instead of good works, there are evil works. People plot against one another. People argue and bicker. They constantly tear down instead of build up. Such an environment pleases only Satan, not God.

I Corinthians 14:33

April 20, 2019

James 3:17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Thought: In this verse, James lists nine traits of the wisdom of God. It is “first pure.” It is not mixed with error, deceit, or falsehood. It is peaceable and gentle in contrast to the envy and strife of earthly wisdom. It does not fight. No, it is easy to be entreated. Instead of pointing out faults, it forgives. It is full of mercy. It brings forth good fruit. There is no respect of persons in it. Too, it is genuine, sincere, and transparent. It does not play the “stage player.” Truly, all men should prefer divine wisdom!

Proverbs 2:6

April 21, 2019

James 3:18 – And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Thought: The righteous live a certain way. The purpose of their lives is to develop and promote peace, especially peace with God. They sow in peace. They go about their daily lives talking to this person and that person about salvation. They sit around tables studying with others. Quietly, they sow their seed. The result of their labor is more peace. Their new converts are at peace with God, and they live in peace with all men to the best of their ability.

Isaiah 32:16-17

April 22, 2019

James 4:1 – From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

Thought: Some desire power. Some desire riches. Some desire prestige. Some desire popularity. Some desire property. Some desire… We could continue to fill in the blank with all of the things individuals desire for themselves. Their lusts are not supposed to go unfulfilled. They will fight for them to the death. This is from whence all wars and fightings come. What desire have you fought for?

Titus 3:3