OPENING SONG AND PRAYER
We started our time together by singing hymn #31 "This Is My Father's World."
MEMORIZATION & DISCUSSION
- "Always be a straight shooter." Always speak the truth.
- It is more valuable to speak truth in accountability to God, rather than to defend ourselves in self-centered fear or doubt.
- Be honest in the workplace. Be realistic in projecting work capabilities and schedules.
- We must keep in mind that we all set an example for our children and other young people about what it looks like to follow Christ.
- Instead of calculating what we can say to others to form a convincing story or paint ourselves in a favorable light, we should be honest and real with each other.
- Spinning one lie can result an extended spiderweb of lies to manage and deal with later. In contrast, telling the truth may be harder to do, but it can keep things simple and straightforward.
- Trust in God and whatever circumstances may follow as a result of telling the truth. We can trust, obey, and praise our sovereign God regardless of any outcome in life.
- Believers are expected to live in holiness, but we also know that all people are sinners and will never be perfect in this life. Believers should always strive and pursue after God's holiness, but at the same time we should also always be humble to acknowledge and confess our own sinfulness.
- If we live our lives with compromise for certain sins, then we must analyze for ourselves whether we are really believers. This may be evidence that there is no striving after holiness, which is a characteristic of genuine faith in God and pursuit of holiness. If we live lives of compromise, then we may be subject to the unbeliever's judgment mentioned in James 5:12.
- We ought to be careful and wise with our words, committing to and promising things that we can actually follow up with. Good intentions can cause us to be unwise or unrealistic with promises and commitments that cannot actually be met, which can result in disappointment, distrust, grief, and damaged relationships.
- Suffering. James tells us that those who suffer must seek God and pray.
- We can go to God and pour out our hearts before Him. He is our heavenly Father who loves us and hears us. We don't have to be austere in our relationship with Him; we can call to God and express our anxieties, worries, doubts, etc. He is faithful and loving to hear us and help us.
- We should make prayer to God a way of life, or something to default to.
- Some ways that people might try to deal with suffering instead of prayer:
- Escapism. Distraction away from the problem.
- Seeking for a natural solution. A remedy or fix to get out of the situation.
- Seeking compassion or pity. Bypass or substitute God by seeking comfort from other people.
- Complain. Blame others, blame self, blame God for things going wrong.
- Cheer. James tells us that those who are cheerful must are to sing praises to God.
- Even in times of prosperity, we should turn to God and give praise and thanks to Him.
- James literally tells us to sing to God. Communicate praises and thanks back to God in joyful expression. In doing so, we celebrate and rejoice with God, whom we love.
- Some ways that people deal with good times:
- Selfishly seek out more.
- Spend blessings on self.
- Give credit to ourselves.