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Archive for the ‘Comparing Scripture’ Category


Psalm 146: The Abundant Helper

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Don’t put your life in the hands of experts who know nothing of life, salvation life.

God’s generosity cannot be outdone; God’s love cannot be overcome.

Mere humans don’t have what it takes; when they die, their projects die with them.

God’s hope is eternal; God’s fidelity is everlasting.

God always does what he says – he defends the wronged, he feeds the hungry.

Jesus heals the broken and comforts the abandoned.

God frees prisoners – he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen.

Jesus calls each of us to pardon as we are pardoned.

God loves good people, protects strangers, takes the side of orphans and widows, but makes short work of the wicked.

The Spirit dwells within each of us, making a place for God’s abundant help to rescue, reconcile and redeem . . . so that we too might take part in God’s great plan of salvation.

When we use the scripture link to explore other versions of Psalm 146, we discover God’s abundant help. We discover God’s great plan for salvation life.


Click on the image to discover more about “Accessing God’s Willing Generosity,” and other thoughts on God’s abundant help. Or visit: http://raynoah.com/2011/02/24/accessing-gods-willing-generosity/

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James 5:8: Steady and Strong

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Andreas Achenbach: Ships in a Storm on the Dutch Coast

Andreas Achenbach: Ships in a Storm on the Dutch Coast

Wait for your valuable crops to mature as farmers do, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.

God says: I am always steadily at your back to protect you. I am always watching your path and leading you. I lend you my strength when you weary. I carry you on my shoulders when you cannot walk. I lead you beside still waters and I rescue you from overwhelming storms. I have given you gifts that I ask you to watch over and husband. You need not struggle and fight. You need not gather weapons or seek revenge. All you need do is remain steady and strong in me. I will do the rest. Strengthen your hearts for I am already with you.

ship tossedWe might use the scripture link to reflect on other versions of these verses and consider what gifts God has given us, to reflect on how we might be patient as we wait for our gifts to mature, and to remember that we need not fight . . . we need only remain steady and strong in God as the storms of roll over us.


Images from: https://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/a/achenbach-andreas/ships-in-a-storm-on-the-d.html and https://www.istockphoto.com/search/2/image?mediatype=illustration&phrase=ocean+storm

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James 5:19-20: Harvest of Hope

Tuesday, November 1, 2022HarvestLogo

My dear friends . . .

What are we to make of James’ letter to us? How does he frame his closing remarks?

If you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth . . .

And surely we must know someone who is broken or abandoned. And just as surely we will know someone who is full of pride and over-confident.

Don’t write them off . . .

thorn heart bibleThis may be difficult. James has asked us to find a way to communicate with those whose anxiety or pride have put them out of our reach; yet James admonishes us.

Go after them . . .

We have no excuses. James wants to see our faith played out in our works.

Get them back . . .

James wants to see us as wounded healers, as a light in the darkness, as salt for the earth.

And you will have rescued precious lives from destruction . . .

James urges us to bring hope to and out of those who despair and those who shun God.

And you will have prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God . . .

James urges us to look for God’s image in others. He asks that we continue to commit our work and our prayer to God as we struggle to unlock the goodness waiting to rise from so many wounded souls. He asks us to participate fully in God’s outrageous and daring harvest of hope.

Tomorrow, a prayer for harvesting hope.

Use the scripture link to find other versions of these verses from THE MESSAGE. 


Images from: https://www.catholiccharities.net/Events/RegionalEvents/HarvestofHopeDinner.aspx and https://pastorrudytlc.com/2019/03/04/lent-and-love/

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James 5:16-17: Praying for Boldness

Monday, October 31, 2022powerofprayer

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

How many of us have witnessed miracles but look for ways to explain them away?

The showers came and everything began to grow again . . .

How many of us have benefited from miracles but shrink from telling others the good news of our own healing?

I’ll bring my people back, gather them up from the ends of the earth . . .

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that there is always reason to celebrate for those who weep will rejoice, those who are lame will walk, those who are blind will one day see. (Jeremiah 31:7-9)

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true . . .

The psalmists tell us that where we have wept, we will leap for joy. (Psalm 126)

Releasing-the-Power-of-Prayer-VideothumbJust as nature turns and returns in her seasons, so too do we turn and return to God. Perhaps it is her fidelity that brings so many miracles forth in nature’s change each season. Perhaps we might also benefit from turning and returning to God’s word each day. When we spend time with these verses, when we search varying versions of these words, we also find much in the power of righteous prayer. As evening falls and we end our day, let us give thanks to the Lord as we offer all that we are and all that we do in God’s holy, healing name.


Spend time with Acts 4:23-32 and re-read a familiar story about the power of prayer.

Images from https://jawbonedigital.com/power-prayer-chadwick/ and 

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James 5:13-15: Union in Prayer

Sunday, October 30, 2022Pray-Together

When we suffer, James tells us that we must pray.

When we celebrate, let us sing praise.

When we are ill, let us ask for anointing.

When we are discordant, we must come together.

When we worry, there is nothing but to turn to God.

When we hope for the forgiveness of sins, we must also ask for redemption.

Suffering is our road to Christ. Let us not avoid it.

red heart bibleJoy accompanies us along the way, but we may not at first feel it.

Paul reminds the Philippians and he reminds us: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

So let us put aside our divisions and celebrate even as we suffer. Let us lay down our enmities and pardon even as we are pardoned. Let us dialog with our enemies and turn all anxiety over to Christ; and let us celebrate our union in the Spirit. Let us celebrate our union in prayer.

Use the scripture link to compare varying versions of these verses and let us find union in prayer and praise.


Images from: https://mariehumphrey.com/2016/06/20/what-praying-together-does-for-you/ and https://medium.com/arc-digital/love-is-dead-557d90d4b881

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James 5:1-6: Killing the Righteous

Sunday, October 23, 2022

In Sirach 34:22 we hear: To take away a neighbor’s living is to murder him; to deprive an employee of his wages is to shed blood.

In a scripture study a number of years ago we looked at these verses along with Matthew 25:34-46, Acts 3:14, and 7:52, and we learn what Jesus means when he asks us to be good stewards of our gifts.

The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

James points out that as humans, we learn slowly. We refuse to hear the lessons that will lighten our hearts.

And you continue, so bullheaded! Calluses on your hearts, flaps on your ears! Deliberately ignoring the Holy Spirit, you’re just like your ancestors.

How do we each kill the righteous? Today we have the opportunity to explore these verses and listen for the Word to settle into our hearts. We have the opportunity to cease killing not only the righteous among us, but the righteous parts of our own being that urge us to act in, with and through God.

Tomorrow, a prayer for those who want to cease killing the righteous . . .


Image from: http://joequatronejr.com/2015/03/17/money-talks-james-51-6/

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James 4:11-12: Honoring the Message

Friday, October 21, 2022stone-heart

Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk.

And this is the Law that Jesus bring to us, The Law of Love. No matter what we hear or see, we must continue to do as Jesus does. Speak well of others, even when we find it difficult to do so.

You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it.

And this is the message that the Spirit creates in us. No matter how deeply we feel the injustices of the world, we are to witness, watch and wait on the Spirit.

God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?

And this is James’ message to us. Not that our lives are predestined and predetermined, but that our lives are integral parts of God’s marvelous plan for creation. No matter the harm we experience, God will turn all injury, maltreatment and sorrow to goodness. No matter the darkness, Jesus brings light sufficient to pierce it. No matter the appearance of our individual and collective lives, the Spirit has only healing and transformation in mind for our hearts of stone. Jesus shows us how to soften our hearts and unbend our stiff necks in order to hear God’s message. Let us honor this message today.

When we compare varying versions of these two verses and listen for the words of the Spirit, we allow God’s message to visit us today. 


Image from: http://girltomom.com/nature/hearts-in-nature

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James 1-4: Good Works

Thursday, October 20, 2022

North Carolina, Belmont, Lectio divina, a reflective meditation on the Bible, is an essential aspect of monastic life. Several hours are devoted to its study each day.

Perhaps James spent time with Psalm 62 as he learned scripture. We can see clear connections between this hymn and his letter. James knows that when wars and quarrels break out our most effective and most sensible refuge is God alone.

God, the one and only. I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life.

James knows that when we struggle with temptation and giving in to easy promises and quick bribes, we have no enduring strength.

How long will you gang up on me? How long will you run with the bullies? There’s nothing to you, any of you – rotten floorboards, worm-eaten rafters, anthills plotting to bring down mountains, far gone in make-believe. You talk a good line, but every “blessing” breathes a curse.

James knows that the world offers a foundation of shifting sand but that God offers us solid ground.

My help and glory are in God – granite-strength and safe-harbor-God – so trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. Man as such is smoke, woman as such, a mirage. Put them together, they’re nothing; two times nothing is nothing.

James knows that with God we receive a just wage for our hard-earned works.

And a windfall, if it comes – don’t make too much of it. God said this once and for all; how many times have I heard it repeated? “Strength comes straight from God.” Love to you, Lord God! You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work!

James knows something that he wants to share with us. Today we reflect on his letter in light of Psalm 62 while considering the good works we offer up as we build the kingdom. We are grateful for God’s great generosity, tender compassion and healing love.

Compare varying versions of Psalm 62. Consider the good works we offer each day to God and consider our response.


Image from: http://ryandueck.com/sermons/

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James 4:7-10: A Solution for Turmoil

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

James continues to be clear with us. There is a method to putting an end to wars and struggles and the list is brief.

  1. Submit ourselves to God.
  2. Resist temptations to act independently of God.
  3. Continue to draw near to God.
  4. Cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.
  5. Ask forgiveness for our willfulness.
  6. Be humble.

The benefits of these simple acts are enormous and impossible to measure. A certain serenity settles over our lives. A new passion colors our relationship with God and with those around us as a result of newly-found peace. We connect ever more intensely with the divinity that lives within. It is no coincidence that these instructions from James closely mirror the 12 steps to recovery outlined by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939. We might spend time with these verses today and make a few simple decisions . . .

Give ourselves over to God . . . So let God work his will in you.

Resist temptation . . . Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.

Draw ever closer to God . . . Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.

Make an intentional effort to renew our lives in Christ . . . Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.

Ask forgiveness . . . Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over.

Be humble . . . Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.

All else will follow in its natural course.

forgiveWhen we use the scripture link to compare versions of these verses, we allow James’ wisdom to settle into our days and into our lives.

To learn more about the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, visit: http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/what-is-aa 

Tomorrow, a prayer for resolving turmoil . . . 


Images from: http://christiancarguy.com/forgiveness-by-bill-mixon/ and https://gentlechristianparenting.com/humility/

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