James Day 3: Miss America and other Crowns

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Taken from James 1:12:

There was a Saturday each September when I was growing up that was special to my Mom and me.  Most Saturdays in September were spent watching Gator football with my entire family, but on one Saturday night the television when to an entirely different type of competition: the Miss America Pageant.  We would get out some paper and pens and make our secret lists of who we thought would be in the top ten, then then top five, and then finally who we thought would take the night.  My mom and I continued this through my college years and beyond.  Then they switched it to January and put it on cable and it just didn’t seem to be as good anymore.  I remember two things mostly about those nights: spending time with my Mom and about 2 minutes after the crowning of the new Miss, I would alway start a new diet.

The end of each pageant there was a moment all the contestants and viewers awaited: the crowning.  There was a song and flowers and applauding, but most importantly there was the dipping of the head to allow the crown to be safety-pinned on to secure it on the head of the winner.  There were tears.  There were flashes of cameras.  There were scholarships and cars. But, every girl who walked on that stage just wanted one thing: the crown.

A crown has been given to the winner of this pageant since it began in 1921.  For over 90 years, women have wanted to win to earn scholarship many and wear a crown.  The current crown has over 700 jewels on it; a crown which each winner gets to keep at the end of her year’s reign.  The crown has had many changes in designers over the years, but it is always beautiful, shiny, and coveted.

For Christians, we should covet another crown, not the one of earthly mold, but one given to us for completing the race that God has set out for us to run (Eph 2.10)

Peace and Wisdom

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There are two types of wisdom according to the book of James: earthly and “wisdom from above”.  Which one characterizes you and your daily interactions with other believers.  As I read some in Lydia Brownback’s book this morning, I was reminded of how we should act and be in our relationships with other believers, especially in corporate gatherings.

So often since I’ve been old enough to recognize it, I see and dislike politics within the church.  I am not talking here about Democrats and Republicans.  I am more referring to one-upping others to get one’s way or catering to the powers that be or financial preferences one can see any virtually any religious organization or denomination.  I’m referring to fights at religious gatherings or arguments over non-important matters.  Even in important matters, there is a way to discuss with “wisdom from above.”

As we relate every day as Christians in a world full of other Christians, all in need of saving grace, may we remember these verses:

James 3:13-18

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Who God is For Us in James…

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James is such a little book, only 3 pages in the ESV Journaling Bible I use, but it is rich and full of practical wisdom and full theology.  As E and I have been studying/memorizing/praying through it in 2012, it has become something that just comes out of our mouths anytime we need a wise word or an answer to a problem we are having.  I now see the benefit of meditating on a certain passage of Scripture for what – 6+ months now. 

This week I had the opportunity to give a lunchtime devotion to a group of senior ladies at my church.  I chose to go through the book of James and pull out all the descriptors of God – or what James tells us God does for us in this tiny epistle.  I got more than I thought.  I just gave them a bulleted point overview, but I have determined to turn this list into a women’s Bible study that can be used individually or in small groups in local churches or coffee shops!  Here is the list with a brief synopsis of how God is those in the book of James. 

James: God For Us

1.  He is our Sanctification (1:4; 1:12; 1:21) – pair these with Philippians 1:6 and the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

2.  He is a gracious Giver (1:16) of both wisdom (1:5) and more grace (4:6)

3.  He is NOT our tempter (1:13)

4.  He is the Father of Lights (1:17)

5.  He is eternal and unchanging (1:17) by looking at men of old such as Job (ch 5) and Elijah the Prophet (ch 5)

6.  He is the Giver of the Perfect Law (4.12)

7.  Our Friend (2:23) – I randomly sing “I am a friend of God” in my head each time I come to this verse in chapter 2

8.  He is the Creator (1:18) and we bear His image (3:9)

9.  He desires us! (4:5)

10.  He is the Opposer of the Proud (4:6)

11.  He is near to the humble (4:8) (I think of the psalms that says the nearness of God is my good)

12.  He is our Righteous Judge (4:12)

13.  He is our Compass – He is our Personal Sovereign (4:13-15)

14.  He is our Coming King (5:7-8)

15.  He is merciful and compassionate (5:11)

16.  He is our Healer (5:15)

17.  He is our Justification, our forgiveness (5:15)

18.  He is our prayer answerer (5:17-18)

19.  To close the book and study – how we see all of this lined in the person and gift of Jesus – the greatest of all of His gracious gifts to us, His “indescribable gift”.


What would you like to have in a group or personal Bible study that I could include?  How has God ministered to you in these ways?  I look forward to interacting with you all on this!