Evening Photo


Hymn of the Week: O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done by Charles Wesley


1. O Love divine, what has thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father’s coeternal Son
bore all my sins upon the tree.
Th’ immortal God for me hath died:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

2. Is crucified for me and you,
to bring us rebels back to God.
Believe, believe the record true,
ye all are bought with Jesus’ blood.
Pardon for all flows from his side:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

3. Behold him, all ye that pass by,
the bleeding Prince of life and peace!
Come, sinners, see your Savior die,
and say, “Was ever grief like his?”
Come, feel with me his blood applied:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Thoughts to Ponder from James 2:14-16


James 2:14-26 (ESV)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Even in the early Church, the debate about faith and works was a heated one! But here, James is telling us that faith is not something just to be talked about; it’s to be lived! As followers of Christ, we demonstrate the extent of our faith all day long, consciously or unconsciously, by the way we live.

Our works don’t earn us salvation. However, we make our love of God visible through the things we do. Abraham demonstrated his faith when he trusted God and prepared to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Mother Teresa demonstrated her faith when, even though she didn’t feel God’s presence, she continued to serve the poor, encourage her sisters, and trust God’s providence. Neither of these friends of God was saved because of his or her actions, of course, but their actions did give us a glimpse into the faith that supported everything they did.

What James is pointing to here is the “wheel of holiness.” God gives us the gift of faith. With that faith, we seek his presence in prayer and are moved deeply when he touches our hearts. Changed by what we have experienced, we find ourselves becoming more generous and selfless. This self-giving in turn nourishes our love for God and our desire to be with him, so we return to him in prayer. And so it continues. We form habits fo holiness; we become more disposed toward God; it becomes more natural for us to demonstrate our faith in our everyday situations.

No matter where you are in this circle, let God take you farther! Do you have faith? Great! Act on it. Find someone today who needs you, and help him or her out. Are you busy working for God’s kingdom? Keep it up, but make sure you are cultivating your spiritual life as well. Righteousness isn’t about proving yourself by your deeds; it’s about letting your faith show itself. It’s about embracing all that God has done for you and wanting more. It’s not talking about faith but showing it in the way you live!

Thank you, Father, for the gift of faith! Draw me close to you so that my faith makes itself known in every choice I make and every word I speak. I don’t want just to sound like a believer; I want to be one! Amen.