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James 1 - The Message Bible
Introduction Introduction | Read Again...
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1:1I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello!
1:2Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
1:3You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
1:4So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
1:5If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it.
1:6Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves.
1:7Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way,
1:8adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
1:9When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!
1:10And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it.
1:11You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
1:12Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
1:13Don't let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, "God is trying to trip me up." God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way.
1:14The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.
1:15Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
1:16So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course.
1:17Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.
1:18He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
1:19Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.
1:20God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger.
1:21So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
1:22Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!
1:23Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror,
1:24walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
1:25But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God--the free life!--even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
1:26Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air.
1:27Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
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