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James 1:19-27
James is very strong on hearing and doing - that what we hear, we do, that what we believe, we do.

I think this connection between hearing and doing is significant for us modern mob of God. We hear and we struggle to do. We speak, and we struggle to authenticate what we say we beleive with what we do in life. The deception that occurs is the deception of ourselves (see that there in verse 22?)

This connection between hearing and doing is the heart of the expression of true religion - and please note, the Bible is not anti-religion - it is for right religion which is established in the relationship with Jesus that exhibits close connection between hearing and doing.

True religion is twofold - it is to care for and provide for the needy and the marginalised, and it is 'to keep oneself unstained by the world'' (vs.27). At the heart of each is grace heard and displayed - grace received and then offered to those who are in need, and grace received and then displayed in such a way as to display citizenship in heaven and the Lordship of Jesus.

Father, please open my ears to your clear words of grace and my hands to move to display it. Amen.
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James 1:1-18
We are in-between sermon series at the moment. So, I thought I would read through a book and offer observations. These are 'off-the-cuff' comments stimulated by the words in front of me.

Two observations from these verses.

First, my experience of running has shown the truth oif 'the testing of your faith produces endurance' (1:3). That said, I think this is a reminder that the one we trust in is proven as he produces the goods each time we experience his steadfastness. The temptation in this statement is to be 'me-focussed' rather than to see that the 'testing of your faith' displays the complete reliability of God.

Second, the interplay between desire, temptation and sin is striking in 1:13-15. On a semantic level, the Greek word for 'test' and 'tempt' is the same, but seems to be translated differently depending on who (the devil or God) is lurking nearby. On a deeper more personal level, it is helpful for us to see the interplay here between tempting, desires and the birth of sin - and, I suspect, the reality of self-control and prayer.

Father, thank you for your endurance. Thank you for your faithfulness. Please grow my trust in you through a realisation of these truths. Amen.
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1 Peter 5:8-14
The perseverance of God's mob is in the face of the prowling of the devil, and it it is in the company of God's mob worldwide. But it is solely successful in its substance because it is established in the grace of the God who has chosen, saved, and sustains his mob.

This grace is the good news of Jesus. The surety of this grace is seen in the empty tomb of Jesus, and the substance of the resurrection. And extent of this grace is all-extensive: it will restore God's mob, after they have walked in the footsteps of Jesus.

So, as Peter closes his letter, he ends where he began: the identity of God's mob which is found in God's work in Jesus.

Father, thank you for the extent and application of your grace in dominion - for your mob, and the restoration of your creation. Amen.
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