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About Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF has been a member since July 10th 2011, and has created 2259 posts from scratch.

Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF's Bio

I am a originally from Canada. I am a pastor of a house church ministry praying for the people of DeKalb, IL and the students of NIU. I also work as nurse. My wife Julie and myself are raising five wonderful children, who are serving the Lord together.

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This Author's Website is http://christianfamilyonchristsmission.com/

Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF's Recent Articles

James 5:1-12. Patience Through The Promises of God. 6-7-19 Devotional

James 5:1-12. Patience Through The Promises of God

6-7-19 Devotional

James 5:1-12       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 5:8     6-7-19

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (8; ESV)

Dear Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for always bringing peace, hope and comfort to our lives. At the end of a hard day’s work, you are always there, ready to hear our prayers, understand our hearts and comfort us. Help me make time for you each day. May I derive my strength and comfort from you. Please illumine my heart through this passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Trust In The Lord and In His Justice (1-6)

Verses 1-6, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.”

In this passage James is calling the abusive and exploitive rich people to repentance. In his day, there must have been a real problem with the rich exploiting the poor. There was a very high slave population in the Roman world. People were cast aside quickly unless they proved their worth to their bosses. I don’t expect there was much mercy for the poor.

It seems foreign to me, one who lives in the year 2019. There are rich in our society, but they don’t seem to be as abusive as James makes them out to be. Many rich people and business owners treat their workers well. They are community leaders. They give to charity. I guess it hasn’t always been like that. I think God has worked through laws and the unions to bring about a more egalitarian and just society. It is all because of the ripple effects of the Gospel. However, there are still a lot of people who are exploited and are treated like virtual slaves by their bosses. They suffer greatly under their control. They cry out for justice.

I think in other countries, in poor countries, or countries under authoritarian governments, the workers are truly suffering under the hands of oppressive bosses. They cry out because of a competitive and oppressive work environment. I would need a lot of faith to step outside of my nation and workforce and compete in an oppressive work environment in some other country and be treated like a slave. Some missionaries choose to do this, subjecting themselves to oppressive bosses, in order to follow the will of God. God bless them.

Abusive rich people will not have the last say. They will have to answer to God. James announces the outcome of the wealthy person’s arrogant lifestyle. Though they have means and resources, the rich have not paid their workers. And because of their corruption, James predicts misery and devastation for them and their possessions. The day of judgment will surely come, and those who have lived in luxury and self-indulgence, ignoring and even exploiting the poor, will weep and wail. All their wealth will rot and be lost forever.

The rich think that all of their financial maneuverings and exploitation of workers will bring them some benefit. But not so. No matter how rich they get, they can never be blessed if they themselves are not a blessing to those around them. They cannot take their riches with them when they go. Their judgment begins in this world. How pathetic it is if there are a whole lot of workers wishing ill will and even death on their abusive bosses. What kind of legacy are the abusive bosses leaving for their descendants and for historians? But there is another factor to consider after this life. They will have to answer for what they have done. Those who hoard wealth, while not paying the wages of the laborer must stand before the Righteous Judge and answer to him concerning those they have oppressed.

Injustice in the world makes righteous people burn with anger. But God’s people don’t have to live with anger and hatred in their hearts. They can cry out God in prayer. The pleas of those treated unfairly have not fallen on deaf ears because the Lord Almighty has heard them. We cannot expect justice in this world, (it is nice when it happens), but we can cry out to God and know he hears us. It may be his will to bring about justice in this life. But definitely justice will be doled out on the day of judgement.

I thank God that I have not been subjected to very much in justice in life. I have rarely tasted racism and prejudice. I work at a job that is very just and treats the workers fairly. I get a good return for my work efforts. I experience freedom and have a great work/life balance. I thank God for this. It is God’s blessing. I believe it is because of the benefits of living in a Christian society where most people identify themselves as Christian. I am reaping the benefits of the Gospel. But I can cannot ignore the plight of those who taste oppression around me.

I think we have all been treated unjustly in one way or another. We have burned with anger towards someone. I learn that I should not seethe in anger and seek revenge. But I need to take it all to the Lord in pray and trust in him. He is the sovereign Lord. He cares about injustice and he intends to do something about it. “Lord, save me from bitterness and anger and a desire for revenge. Help me to always trust in you.”

Part 2: God’s People Must Be Patient (7-12)

Verses 7-12, “7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”

This is the second time he states, “Be patient”. He describes patience as standing firm. This means not wavering. It is assurance that deliverance is going to happen. It is just a matter of time.

It is not easy to be patient. James urges us to look to the farmer. The farmer is a good way of describing the Christian life. As a farmer plants and then patiently waits for the rains, and then for the harvest, so we too must learn to wait on the Lord. Our waiting must not be full of grumbling, nor done with an impatient, rebellious spirit. We must wait with a calm assurance that God hears our prayers and that he will deliver us in his way and in his time. Being patient, we draw closer to God. He keeps his promises. Patience is having an assurance of something. Think one again about the farmer. Even a farmer does not get anxious. He knows that the crop is coming and that his patience will be rewarded.

Job is the paragon of one who is enduring the most unjust suffering. (Paragon is a peerless example. A model or pattern of excellence or perfection.) There was no reason or cause for his intense suffering. He was tempted by his wife to curse God and die. But he never did. He continued in his faith. He endured all of his sufferings and he was able to reveal God to all those around him. Where did his patience and strength come from? It came from God and the promises of God. Job knew that his Redeemer would stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25).

From the world’s point of view, Job was a cursed man, an unlucky person, and miserable. But from a Christian’s perspective on Job’s suffering is different. Look at verse 11b, “…You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Patience is a Christian virtue. Patience, in itself is a quality of God. Those who endure with patience and faith, in the midst of suffering, grow in this Godly virtue. They experience God’s compassion and mercy.

Patience is intimately linked to faith. It is the gift of God through his word. The root of patience is having faith in the promise of God. Which promise of God is James encouraging believers to hold onto? Look at verse 8 again. Believers are urged to hold onto the Promise of Jesus’ Second Coming like the farmer who holds onto the promise of the coming of a harvest. Faith in the coming of Jesus is tied up with God’s promise and God’s reward. When Jesus comes again, God’s justice will be given. Those who suffered will be set free and enjoy eternal life with their Lord and Savior.

It interests me that James makes no promise that those who are suffering under the oppressive rich will be relieved in this lifetime. He does not promise that. He urges that Christians hold onto faith in the Second Coming of Jesus. He does not say this, but the Christians’ suffering may continue through their entire lifetime. They may die being exploited by the rich. The hope in Jesus’ Second coming is the promise they are urged to hold onto.

I am not anywhere near this level of faith. I expect God to work and work quickly. If I don’t see any intervention quickly then I begin to get disappointed. “Lord, please grant me patience. Help me to hold onto your promises, especially the hope in Jesus’ Second coming.”

Prayer: “Lord, teach me to wait patiently on you and grow in the virtue of patience.”

One Word: Be patient; Jesus will come again.

James 5:1-12. Patience Through The Promises of God. 6-7-19 Devotional

James 5:1-12. Patience Through The Promises of God

6-7-19 Devotional

James 5:1-12       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 5:8     6-7-19

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (8; ESV)

Dear Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for always bringing peace, hope and comfort to our lives. At the end of a hard day’s work, you are always there, ready to hear our prayers, understand our hearts and comfort us. Help me make time for you each day. May I derive my strength and comfort from you. Please illumine my heart through this passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Trust In The Lord and In His Justice (1-6)

Verses 1-6, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.”

In this passage James is calling the abusive and exploitive rich people to repentance. In his day, there must have been a real problem with the rich exploiting the poor. There was a very high slave population in the Roman world. People were cast aside quickly unless they proved their worth to their bosses. I don’t expect there was much mercy for the poor.

It seems foreign to me, one who lives in the year 2019. There are rich in our society, but they don’t seem to be as abusive as James makes them out to be. Many rich people and business owners treat their workers well. They are community leaders. They give to charity. I guess it hasn’t always been like that. I think God has worked through laws and the unions to bring about a more egalitarian and just society. It is all because of the ripple effects of the Gospel. However, there are still a lot of people who are exploited and are treated like virtual slaves by their bosses. They suffer greatly under their control. They cry out for justice.

I think in other countries, in poor countries, or countries under authoritarian governments, the workers are truly suffering under the hands of oppressive bosses. They cry out because of a competitive and oppressive work environment. I would need a lot of faith to step outside of my nation and workforce and compete in an oppressive work environment in some other country and be treated like a slave. Some missionaries choose to do this, subjecting themselves to oppressive bosses, in order to follow the will of God. God bless them.

Abusive rich people will not have the last say. They will have to answer to God. James announces the outcome of the wealthy person’s arrogant lifestyle. Though they have means and resources, the rich have not paid their workers. And because of their corruption, James predicts misery and devastation for them and their possessions. The day of judgment will surely come, and those who have lived in luxury and self-indulgence, ignoring and even exploiting the poor, will weep and wail. All their wealth will rot and be lost forever.

The rich think that all of their financial maneuverings and exploitation of workers will bring them some benefit. But not so. No matter how rich they get, they can never be blessed if they themselves are not a blessing to those around them. They cannot take their riches with them when they go. Their judgment begins in this world. How pathetic it is if there are a whole lot of workers wishing ill will and even death on their abusive bosses. What kind of legacy are the abusive bosses leaving for their descendants and for historians? But there is another factor to consider after this life. They will have to answer for what they have done. Those who hoard wealth, while not paying the wages of the laborer must stand before the Righteous Judge and answer to him concerning those they have oppressed.

Injustice in the world makes righteous people burn with anger. But God’s people don’t have to live with anger and hatred in their hearts. They can cry out God in prayer. The pleas of those treated unfairly have not fallen on deaf ears because the Lord Almighty has heard them. We cannot expect justice in this world, (it is nice when it happens), but we can cry out to God and know he hears us. It may be his will to bring about justice in this life. But definitely justice will be doled out on the day of judgement.

I thank God that I have not been subjected to very much in justice in life. I have rarely tasted racism and prejudice. I work at a job that is very just and treats the workers fairly. I get a good return for my work efforts. I experience freedom and have a great work/life balance. I thank God for this. It is God’s blessing. I believe it is because of the benefits of living in a Christian society where most people identify themselves as Christian. I am reaping the benefits of the Gospel. But I can cannot ignore the plight of those who taste oppression around me.

I think we have all been treated unjustly in one way or another. We have burned with anger towards someone. I learn that I should not seethe in anger and seek revenge. But I need to take it all to the Lord in pray and trust in him. He is the sovereign Lord. He cares about injustice and he intends to do something about it. “Lord, save me from bitterness and anger and a desire for revenge. Help me to always trust in you.”

Part 2: God’s People Must Be Patient (7-12)

Verses 7-12, “7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”

This is the second time he states, “Be patient”. He describes patience as standing firm. This means not wavering. It is assurance that deliverance is going to happen. It is just a matter of time.

It is not easy to be patient. James urges us to look to the farmer. The farmer is a good way of describing the Christian life. As a farmer plants and then patiently waits for the rains, and then for the harvest, so we too must learn to wait on the Lord. Our waiting must not be full of grumbling, nor done with an impatient, rebellious spirit. We must wait with a calm assurance that God hears our prayers and that he will deliver us in his way and in his time. Being patient, we draw closer to God. He keeps his promises. Patience is having an assurance of something. Think one again about the farmer. Even a farmer does not get anxious. He knows that the crop is coming and that his patience will be rewarded.

Job is the paragon of one who is enduring the most unjust suffering. (Paragon is a peerless example. A model or pattern of excellence or perfection.) There was no reason or cause for his intense suffering. He was tempted by his wife to curse God and die. But he never did. He continued in his faith. He endured all of his sufferings and he was able to reveal God to all those around him. Where did his patience and strength come from? It came from God and the promises of God. Job knew that his Redeemer would stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25).

From the world’s point of view, Job was a cursed man, an unlucky person, and miserable. But from a Christian’s perspective on Job’s suffering is different. Look at verse 11b, “…You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Patience is a Christian virtue. Patience, in itself is a quality of God. Those who endure with patience and faith, in the midst of suffering, grow in this Godly virtue. They experience God’s compassion and mercy.

Patience is intimately linked to faith. It is the gift of God through his word. The root of patience is having faith in the promise of God. Which promise of God is James encouraging believers to hold onto? Look at verse 8 again. Believers are urged to hold onto the Promise of Jesus’ Second Coming like the farmer who holds onto the promise of the coming of a harvest. Faith in the coming of Jesus is tied up with God’s promise and God’s reward. When Jesus comes again, God’s justice will be given. Those who suffered will be set free and enjoy eternal life with their Lord and Savior.

It interests me that James makes no promise that those who are suffering under the oppressive rich will be relieved in this lifetime. He does not promise that. He urges that Christians hold onto faith in the Second Coming of Jesus. He does not say this, but the Christians’ suffering may continue through their entire lifetime. They may die being exploited by the rich. The hope in Jesus’ Second coming is the promise they are urged to hold onto.

I am not anywhere near this level of faith. I expect God to work and work quickly. If I don’t see any intervention quickly then I begin to get disappointed. “Lord, please grant me patience. Help me to hold onto your promises, especially the hope in Jesus’ Second coming.”

Prayer: “Lord, teach me to wait patiently on you and grow in the virtue of patience.”

One Word: Be patient; Jesus will come again.

James 4:13-17. TRUST GOD FOR TOMORROW- 6-3-19 devotional

James 4:13-17. TRUST GOD FOR TOMORROW- 6-3-19 devotional

James 4:13-17         Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 4:15       6-3-19

“15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” (ESV)

Dear Lord, thank you for the last three days of rest. Help me to focus on Christ and meditate on your word. I pray that you bless this summer. May it be filled with love, joy peace, goodness. May it be a summer of spiritual growth. Grant me your word in my heart today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Trust God and Not In The Wisdom of Your Own Plans (13-14)

Verses 13-14, “13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (ESV)

James was trying to help the members of the church to view their lives in the proper perspective, in the perspective of eternity and of God’s sovereignty. Apparently, there were some people who were trusting in their own human abilities to make money and do business. They were making all kinds of future plans to try to make their future security certain.

James wanted them to trust in God. He tells them the facts, that they do not know what tomorrow will bring. The reality is, their lives are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. He did not want them to trust in themselves and in their own planning abilities and skills to make money in order to secure their future. They may not live long enough to engage in their next business trip. He wanted them to always put their faith, hope and trust in God who holds their lives in his hands.

There is nothing wrong with going from town to do business and make money. Of course, it should never consume a person and make them ignore Jesus and the will of God for their lives. But every society needs business people. If there were no business people then we would be subsistence farming and living with the barter system. James was talking about trusting God with their future. Our lives are like a mist that appears for a little while, then vanishes. So, we must put our trust in the eternal, unchanging God.

This has implications with serving the Gospel mission. For example, what if there was an important mission that a person was called to serve in the church and they had to reschedule a business trip? They need to be flexible to keep priorities. It might mean a loss of money for their business. But they need to trust God with their future and their finances. What does Matthew 6:33 say, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (ESV) Without this attitude and faith one can never follow Jesus to distances he wants to lead them. They will only follow Christ if their tight schedules allow it.

More often than not I feel that I know best. I hold onto my plans and become inflexible even to God. Why? It is because there are times when I lack trust in Jesus. I need to trust in Jesus and his plans, even when it has to do with business and making money…even if it means losing money. I need to trust God in regards to ministry. He knows the most fruitful path to take. I may think that my ministry plans are the most fruitful, but they are not.

Part 2: Be Flexible Enough To Follow The Will of God (15-17)

Verses 15-17, “15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (ESV)

In our generation, some people dream about how they will spend a vacation, or about how wonderful life will be after graduation, or after marriage, or after they get a job, or after they retire. Others plan the great things they will do for God someday. It is good to have plans and dream about the future. But we need to be ready to cope when our plans or life circumstances are changed by God.

I think this passage is teaching us to be flexible enough to follow the will of God. Future plans seem to give security and direction. Some people insist on clinging to their plans, no matter how the world may change. But the world is indeed uncertain. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. We should not cling to the false security of our own plans. We need to cling to God and his plans for us and be flexible, dynamic and elastic in regards to the will of God.

We also need to hold on loosely to our own plans for our own sakes. When plans don’t work out the way we expect and want, then we could become crushed. I see it at the hospital. Some patients are in very difficult medical conditions. But yet they talk about plans for travel or visiting relatives in some far-off city or country. I think to myself, “You are not going anywhere.” Some patients don’t want to face the fact that they are no longer able to go anywhere. What about the high school student who has all of these plans for college and a career but things just don’t work out? It could be a time of deep soul searching and sometimes sorrow and regret.

This can also do with mission. Imagine a person who wants to be a missionary. They have all of these plans to go. They spend years trying to go and preparing themselves. But things just don’t work out the way they expect. They find that God has different plans. If they are not flexible to follow God’s plan for their life, and let their plans go, even if their plans are Christian plans, then they can be crushed. Jesus’ disciples always need to be flexible, dynamic and elastic.

This passage also teaches us that we must not put off doing the work God has given us to do–for tomorrow may never come. We put things off because our own plans have priority. We postpone things, thinking that God’s plan can be done later. But with God’s plans come God’s timing. God is fulfilling his plan. He is orchestrating his events. We, as his followers, need to follow the Lord, not on our own time schedule but according to his time schedule. We need to be in step with the Holy Spirit. Then God can work through us powerfully.

When it comes to plans, I need to say, ““If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” I don’t mean this in terms of citing some empty Christian cliché. I need to say it from the heart. I still also need to make plans. But I need to have faith enough to let those plans go if God shows me some other path that he has chosen.

Prayer:Lord, help me to do your work today with all my heart, and to trust you for tomorrow.

One Word: Trust God and follow the Lord even if it means changing your plans.

James 4:7-12. RESIST THE DEVIL- 5-28-19 devotional

James 4:7-12. RESIST THE DEVIL- 5-28-19 devotional

James 4:7-12       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 4:7     5-28-19

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NIV, 7)

Dear Lord Jesus, thankyou for your word, which is like cool water to a thirsty soul. When I am tied up with the things of this world, I know that I can always come back to you and your word and get focused again on what is truly worthwhile and satisfying. When the world is trying to enjoy one vacation experience after another, you have given your word to us. Thank you. Please help me to accept your truth deeply in my heart. I thank you and I pray in Jesus’ name.

Part 1: Submit Yourselves to God (7-10)

Verses 7-10, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (NIV)

James was giving people words of encouragement. I am not sure if James is talking to worldly people, outside of the church, or to members of the church. Whatever the case, these people were suffering because of the power of sin and the devil.

A quick assessment of the verses reveals the spiritual condition of the people James was writing to. There were some people who were captured by the power of the devil. They were unclean before God because of their sin. They were double minded, wanting to do good before God, but helplessly engaging in the sin that they did not want to engage in. They had actually become the people that they never wanted to become. They were mindlessly laughing and being joyful even when they were stuck in a decrepit sinful condition. In that sense it was like a fake laughter and joy, ignoring their broken relationship with God. They were blind. They were also proud, and not humbling themselves before God. As a result, they were unable to live a victorious Christian life. According to James, their problem was twofold, not submitting to God and being subject to the whiles of the devil.

The peoples’ problems were spiritual problems. The Bible tells us that our enemy is not against flesh and blood. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV, Eph 6:10)

Yes, they were helpless in their sins. But they were not helpless in Christ. On their own, they could only flail around, thinking that other people were the problem. That would be misdiagnosing their spiritual condition. In the medical field a person cannot be healed of their disease without the proper diagnosis. They needed to see how their struggles were actually “…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

There are forces of evil at work in this world that can stymy our own puny human efforts every time. Our enemy is the devil. He does not like it when we decide to submit ourselves to God. He is very powerful, and he can defeat us if we fight him with our human strength.

But for believers this is not the case. We are not alone in winning the spiritual battle. God is there and he wants to help us. Let’s consider, first of all, verse 6 of this chapter. “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.’” God is ready to absolutely help each of us. But there is one condition to his being able to come to our aid…humble submission to God. He helps the humble and he opposes the proud. Every time we are assailed by forces of evil and sinful desires, then God will be there to help us. He will work in our hearts, but we must have an attitude of humble submission.

Where there is humility before God, there is prayer, there is hope. We ask God for his help at our lowest point, even though asking God is usually not our first reaction. But we must know that God is ready and willing and able to help us in our troubles when we are honest and when we are able to ask God and accept God’s help. God really wants to help you. Be humble in your heart and mind. Let’s make a resolution today, “I will have a change of attitude!” Look at verse 10 again. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” God will give us hope. He will lift us out of our lowest condition, whatever it may be. God’s word is true.

Part 2: Don’t Judge Brothers or Neighbors (11-12)

Verses 11-12, “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” (NIV)

There was another group of people who were ensnared by another spiritual problem, slandering others. Look at verse 7 and then verse 11 and 12. What is the root of slandering? When a person doesn’t get what they want they judge and criticize and condemn others. Other people become the object of their contempt. Let’s face it, if we judge and slander our siblings in Christ or our neighbors, we give the devil a handle in our lives. He is trying to destroy our relationships with one another and cause divisions and strife in the church.

These problems between Christians seem to be related to a rejection of God’s sovereignty and providence in one’s life. Look at verse 11b, “…Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.” If we slander or speak disparagingly about another, we are sitting on the judgment seat. The Bible teaches us not to judge others, but to repent ourselves. So, if we judge others, we are sitting in judgment on the law. We put ourselves above the law. One who slanders makes himself a mini-lawgiver and judge. In essence, they attack the Law of God, which is really an attack on God’s sovereignty, for it is his word and his law. James points the people to God, the One who is able to save and destroy. God is the law giver and the Sovereign Lord. We must live humbly before him which involves repenting of our slandering.

James asks a pointed question to be answered by our Christian conscience: “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” It is found in verse 12, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” Who do we think we are, slandering our neighbor?

How easy it is to slander our neighbor. Subconsciously, it is an attempt to make ourselves look more righteous in our own eyes. It is kind of a power trip. How foolish! We should not do this. How can we slander anyway? We don’t know the whole story. We are blinded by our own prejudices. What we may believe as true is not true. We are actually incapable of judging according to truth on our own. There may be so many circumstances concerning a person’s situation. We are not God. We are not the judges of others. I have done my fair share of slandering in the past and have regretted every sentence of it. I am thankful that Jesus forgives me.

Does Jesus ever slander us? No. He says things like, “I love you my precious child.”, “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Many times, he is silent. Jesus is very inclusive, kind and truthful. He sees, hears and speaks with truth and compassion.

Slandering also damages our Christian witness among the people around us. Do you think that people will be impressed and attracted to the Gospel when they hear our slandering? I don’t think so. They will think we are double minded.

Our slandering is actually unchristian. We need to tame our tongues and use them to praise the Lord and build others up. James 3:7-9 reads, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” This sums it up so eloquently. Lord, save me from slanderous words and help me to be an encouragement to all people.

Prayer: “Father, help me to submit to you and resist the devil today. I want to draw near you; please draw near to me. Help me to love others instead of judging them.”

One Word: Submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee

The Parents of my aunt, Emily (Wilks) Sawicki. Pauline (Wasalyshen) Wilks and her husband, Frank Wilks

Frank and Pauline (Wasalyshen) Wilks. Ed and Emily Sawicki are my uncle and aunt. They grew up in and around the Dauphin Manitoba region in southwest Manitoba. This the information I have on Emily’s parents. I only had the privilege of meeting Emily’s mother, Pauline Wilks, when I was a young boy in Thompson Manitoba. Here is a picture of me at the foot of the stairs of house of Ed and Emily Sawicki in Thompson Manitoba. I was a ring bearer at Leo Sawicki’s wedding. Frank and Pauline Wilks were farmers and they had two sons, Stanley and Joe, and a daughter, (my aunt Emily). One son ended up living in Calgary and the other remained around Dauphin Manitoba. Emily lived in Sudbury Ontario, then in Thompson Manitoba and finally in Dauphin Manitoba. I think that the baby in their lap is Emily.

Return to Ed and Emily Sawicki page

Return to Jesmer family history page

PAULINE WILKS Born into a world of change in 1910, at the turn of the century, Pauline saw many changes in her lifetime. Pauline Wilks of Dauphin, passed away on January 23, 2011, at the Dauphin Personal Care Home, at the age of 100 years, surrounded by the love of her family and friends.

She is predeceased by her husband Frank Wilks; parents Anastasia ( Nellie) Prociuk and Metro Wasylyshen; sisters Ann, Mary, and Elsie; brothers John, William and Mike; as well as son Stanley, and grandsons Andrew and Randy.

Pauline was born on April 11, 1910 in the Sifton area. She married Frank Wilks, and they farmed seven miles north of Dauphin. She had three children; Emily, Stanley ( daughter in law Shirley) and Joseph ( daughter in law Mary); seven grandchildren, Beverly, Leona, Darrell, Darlene, Sherri, Dwayne, and Donna; five great- grandchildren, Nikki, Stefani, Kendra, Brayley and Colton; as well as nieces and nephews.

She enjoyed her many vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and flower gardens. In addition to canning, cooking and entertaining, she did needle work, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and loved to play cards. Pauline excelled in sewing, and was fondly known as the local dress maker. She is recognized for her many volunteer years at the Dauphin Hospital Auxiliary, and St. Viator’s Catholic Women’s League.

Prayers were held from St. Viator’s Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, January 27 at 7: 00 pm with a rosary led by the CWL. Funeral Mass was held on Friday, January 28 at 10: 30 am with Fr. David Kowalski officiating. Pauline was buried at the Riverside Cemetery next to her husband. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dauphin Hospital Auxiliary. The family would like to express their sincere thanks to the Dauphin Personal Care Home. Sneath- Strilchuk Funeral Services ( 204) 638- 4110 www. Sneathstrilchuk

https://newspaperarchive.com/dauphin-herald-feb-01-2011-p-22/

Frank Wilks: Dauphin Herald (Newspaper) – October 18, 1990, Dauphin, Manitoba B4 THE DAUPHIN HERALD Thursday, October 18, 1990. In Memoriam Wilks – In loving memory of my dear husband, Frank, who passed away October 19,1976. Fourteen years Have passed and gone Since the one we loved so well Was taken from our home on earth, With Christ to dwell. The flowers we place upon his grave, May wither and decay; But the love for him Who sleeps beneath Shall never fade away. — You will always be remembered by your wife Pauline and family.

https://newspaperarchive.com/dauphin-herald-oct-18-1990-p-12/

STANLEY WILKS April 24, 1935 – December 6, 2007 It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of our husband, father and grandfather Stanley Wilks at the age of 72 years. With the family by his side, he passed away peacefully at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre.

Stan was born on the family homestead, in the RM of Dauphin to Frank and Pauline (Wasalyshen) Wilks. He grew up on the farm, with his parents, sister and brother. He attended Riverbend School for his elementary education, then Dauphin Collegiate to finish his high school education. After graduating, he went to Winnipeg to attend Teachers College. Upon graduating from Teachers college, Stan moved to Arden, MB. to teach school for a year.

After teaching, Stan worked for CN for a while, then decided to move back to Dauphin, where he started working for Safeway. It is at this job where he met Shirley Sishka and married her the following year. After their wedding and still working for Safeway, Stan was transferred to Selkirk, then Winnipeg, where they remained for a number of years.

In 1966, Stan and his young family moved back to Dauphin to take over the family farm, upon his father’s retirement. He continued farming and working at a variety of jobs until his retirement in 2000. Stan had many hobbies, but his favourites were; the great outdoors (country boy at heart) and photography. He also cherished family get- togethers and also “coffee – time” with his buddies.

He touched the hearts of all who knew him and will be missed. Stan was predeceased by his father, Frank Wilks and son Randy Wilks. He leaves to mourn his passing and cherish many fond memories; his wife of 50 years, Shirley. His son Darrell Wilks of Alberta, daughters; Darlene (Richard) Kolochuk of Winnipegosis, Mb. and Sherri Wilks of Dauphin. His grandchildren; Stefani Kolochuk of Brandon, Mb., Kendra Wilks (Dustin) and Colton Wilks of Alberta. His mother Pauline Wilks of Dauphin. His sister Emily Sawicki of Dauphin and brother Joe (Mary) Wilks of Calgary, Alberta, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Prayers were offered on Monday, December 10th at 7: 00 p. m. from the St. Viators Roman Catholic Church and were led by Jeff DiNella. Funeral service was held on Tuesday, December 11th at 2: 00 p. m. at St. Viators Roman Catholic Church with Father Yolando Gamallo officiating. Interment followed at the Riverside Cemetery in Dauphin. Active pallbearers were Stan Luckay, Albert Dolhun, Walter Dolhun, John Panko, Jack Koshey and Len Sharna. All who knew Stan were to consider themselves as honorary pallbearers. Should friends so desire, memorial donations may be made, in memory of Stan, to the Heart and Stroke foundation or the Children’s Miracle network. Sneath- Strilchuk Funeral Services had care of the arrangements.

https://newspaperarchive.com/dauphin-herald-jan-01-2008-p-18/

James 4:1-6. YOU DO NOT HAVE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT ASK – 5-21-19 devotional

James 4:1-6. YOU DO NOT HAVE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT ASK – 5-21-19 devotional

James 4:1-6           Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 4:2c     5-21-19

“…You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.” (ESV)

Dear Lord heavenly Father, we trust you for whatever the future holds. You are the Almighty God. You have provided. You are providing and you will continue to provide. Grant us that basic trust, day to day as we live by faith. Grant me some sight into today’s passage. I pray in Jesus’ holy name. Amen!

Part 1: Because You Do Not Ask God (1-2)

Verse 1-2, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.” (ESV)

Apparently in the early church there were quarrels and fights among members of the church. Obviously, they were a fellowship of forgiven sinners. Every so often their sinful nature would erupt. It happens. People are human.

But there is power in the Gospel to help Christians with their quarrels. Quarrels and fights do arise, but in Christ they do not continue to exist and fester. There is the power of the Gospel to mend broken relationships within the church.

We need to get to the core of why do people fight and quarrel with others. It is because they have a war going on inside themselves. They want something, and they try to get it by any means possible. God’s people should not struggle with other people because of their own selfish desires.

It is not wrong to have strong desires for something. God may work through that desire. It is wrong that we quarrel and fight with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. For example, a person may want to be a small business owner. They really want to do this. But they quarrel with others in the church. Maybe they are jealous over the success of other people. Maybe they don’t get the help or prayer support they expect. Maybe they don’t get the free advice from other business owners. Maybe they feel judged by some church goers. Maybe they overhear being criticized for their business dreams. There could be many reasons why quarrels arise.

What about the parent who wants their child to have an important place of honor within the church? Their child was not chosen for a mission in the church. Their child was not recognized by the pastor. Then quarrels arise between the parent and the leaders of the church. These quarrels could last for decades, even until death. School teachers go through this all the time. It is sad, but true.

But even though quarrels arise they don’t have to allow those quarrels to fester. God, in his wisdom can help people to forgive one another. The cross reconciles man and God but also man and man. That is why it is the cross. The word of God brings freedom from thoughts that have run roughshod in our minds. We confess our sin. We hold onto his word. We talk to and pray with our fellow Christian with the hopes to make things right. Then God does a miracle between the two quarreling parties. He grants them grace to forgive one another. The wall between them disappears and they are reconciled in Christ. It is all because of the power of God.

Another secret of overcoming these conflicts is to not struggle with other people all together. We must turn to God. We must trust in the sovereignty of God. God is control. He is the Lord over even the quarrels that arise among us.

Trust that God cares about our desires and is willing to listen. God may choose to work through our strong desires. What about the person who really wants to open up a small business? God can work through that. That person can provide jobs to people in the church. They can make offerings. They can financially support the church and missionaries. What about the parent who has high hopes for their children to fill a place of leadership in the church? They can plant seeds of hope in that child’s heart to be a pastor, to go to Bible College, to get the training and credentials he/she needs to fill a leadership role in the church. And so, don’t write off your strong desires, but find out how Christ can work through them to bring glory to himself and build up the church.

Have you thought about praying to God? If we have a strong desire within our hearts, and it is according to his will, we should ask God. He loves us. He did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up for us. If what we want is what we really need, and according to his will, he will give it to us–if we just ask him. He wants us to pray and to depend on him.

I thank God for faith in Jesus. We are not helpless. We are never helpless when God is with us. The creator of life and the universe is with us and is concerned and listens to us. No matter what our predicament and challenge and need, Christ is with us and listening. All we have to do is ask.

Part 2: Because You Have Wrong Motives (3-6)

Verses 3-6, “3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (ESV)

Sometimes we do ask, but we don’t receive. Why? It is because we have wrong motives. Worldly people make pleasure-seeking and self-preservation their main occupation. They are friends of the world, and a friend of the world is an enemy of God. Preeminence of worldly pleasures and self-preserving desires only make us want more. A godless person is never satisfied. They never feel secure. Such is the lifelong agony of those who are friends of this world.

God alone can satisfy the desires of our hearts. God alone can provide for our daily needs. He will do so if we ask him with pure and humble hearts. Our hearts should be filled with a desire to know God, to love him and to serve him. We should be seeking the will of God in our lives and ask for things that are in line with the will of God for us.

Christians must trust in God’s sovereignty. We need to be open and free to accept it when God does not grant our requests. He is saying, “no” or “wait”. That is OK. God is God. Maybe we are harboring some hidden ulterior motives in our hearts for pleasure seeking or self-preservation. We may not even know it. But God knows our hearts. He knows what is best for his children. He cares and he is listening.

God knows the desires of our hearts. We may think that we need this or that. We convince ourselves that only this or that thing will satisfy me. But we are more often deceived. God knows our hearts and he knows what we need and what will really thrill our hearts with heavenly joy. We need to trust him with that too as we pray.

A Christian must never cause conflict with another church member if their desires are not met. They must never get resentful or jealous. We must always trust God in all things. It is not the people around us that is part of the problem. But we know that God, who is with us, is always the solution. We just need to trust and submit to him.

Prayer: “Thank you, Father, for giving me the desires of my heart. Teach me to pray according to your will.”

One Word: Come to God and entrust your life to him. He cares and will provide.

James 3:13-18 -TWO KINDS OF WISDOM – 5-19-19 Devotional

James 3:13-18 -TWO KINDS OF WISDOM – 5-19-19 Devotional

James 3:13-18       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 3:17     5-19-19

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (ESV) (17)

Dear Jesus. Thank you for being my “all in all”. This world has very little to offer a person. A few fleeting decades of life with fleeting joys and a lot of heartache. But in Christ, everything is different. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. Help me to follow you through this world and know that eternal life in your kingdom awaits. Help me to accept you word into my heart through this passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Worldly Wisdom (13-16)

Verses 13-16, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. “

Worldly wisdom produces bad fruit, like selfish ambition and bitter jealousy. Bitter jealousy (v. 14a) means jealousy that is beyond the normal jealousy. It may lead a person into hatred or revenge. It turns the heart bitter. It is all consuming. It ruins relationships with each other and with the Lord.

Worldly wisdom is selfish. Worldly wisdom teaches us such things as, “Be your own man” and “If it feels good, do it” or the most popular teaching is “Enjoy yourself while you are young.” This comes from moto, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor 15:32a). Such “wisdom” does not come from God, but from the devil. It produces disorder and all kinds of evil practices. It is very damaging.

It is obvious who are following worldly wisdom. Their lives are marked by selfish ambition, disorder and evil practices. That wisdom is meant to alienate us from God and from one another.

It is obvious who is following true wisdom from God. Let’s read verse 13 again, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” Their life will be marked by good conduct and meekness. This is fruit produced by God within his people.

Let’s think about the qualities produced by following wisdom from above. First, the definition of meek: “enduring injury with patience and without resentment…a mild, moderate, humble, or submissive quality.”… Merriam Webster Dictionary. Some synonyms of meekness are: patience, long-suffering, forbearance; gentleness, mildness, softness, peacefulness, humility, humbleness, unpretentiousness, lowliness; submissiveness, submission. A person who has bitter jealousy and selfish ambition surely is not meek.

The person who displays the meekness of God’s wisdom are submitted to God and allowing God to work out his will in their lives. They are not in any form of competition or jelaousy. They can be gentle and peaceable and submissive to God and to others. Only those who have faith in the living God can have such qualities grow within them.

On our own, we are prone to seek after worldly wisdom and therefore also prone to jealousy and selfish ambition. It is in our sinful nature. How can we overcome. It can only be accomplished with God’s help. God must bear the fruit of the spirit within us. What we can do is to look intently into the law of God as looking into a mirror. We can be slow to speak and quick to listen to the word of God. When we have such a relationship with God through his word, fruit will be born within us. It will happen by God’s grace through faith. Remain in Jesus and he will remain in you.

Worldly wisdom in the church is detrimental. Look at verses 15 and 16, “This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” It must be veered away from.

But sadly, there is a tendency for churches to turn from the wisdom of the word of God and turn to worldly wisdom. They drift away from exposition of the Bible and hold onto what the popular culture considers common sense. As soon as this happens, they are set adrift for the wisdom of God.

Worldly wisdom seems so enticing. It is disguised as truth. It is more popular within the culture. In the early church, the wisdom of God and worldly wisdom were vying for the hearts of the populace. There was Greek philosophy and humanistic teaching etc. If a person followed the popular wisdom of the day they would have been praised as wise.

Even today if a person follows worldly wisdom they are praised. It makes a person popular. There are people who build business empires on publishing worldly wisdom. On Facebook I can post humanistic positive-thinking sayings and I may get twenty likes. If I post wisdom from God, I would get fewer likes. If a pastor wants to preach worldly wisdom, they may see their popularity greatly increase…for a time. There are empty churches, sometimes because pastors have relied on worldly wisdom. It can happen. James warns us to stay away from it and seek the wisdom from God.

Part 2: Wisdom That Comes From God (17-18)

Verses 17-18, “17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

True wisdom comes from God. Wisdom from God is pure, considerate, peace-loving, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. This is so refreshing to hear. There are such beautiful fruits of wisdom produced within us! How refreshing to hear about this wisdom in a world filled with wisdom that produces bitter jealousy and selfish ambition.

God makes followers of heavenly wisdom into peace makers. The really wise person shows his wisdom and understanding by his good life and by deeds done in humility. They make peace. Those who sow peace. Their lives produce a harvest of righteousness. Their hearts are filled with love for others and true joy.

     I really want to be a Christian who is marked by these fruits of godly wisdom. They are so appealing to me. There is something about these qualities that I want to grow within me. Who wants to be known as a person who is bitterly jealous or full of selfish ambition? Not me. I want these qualities emanating of me.

I am attracted to these qualities because they are the qualities of God. God is all of these things. He is, “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” We are God’s people, created in his image. We want to be like our heavenly Father.

These qualities come when we have peace with God through faith in Christ. The Bible teaches us that we have no peace because our sins put us at odds with God. The only way to stop warring against God is to receive God’s forgiveness through the Gospel, by faith. Then a response to this grace would be to gaze into the God’s perfect law. We must be slow to speak and quick to listen to his truth, then we will be changed. Our hearts will taste these heavenly qualities and we will be transformed into sowers of peace…peace makers per say.

Prayer: Lord, give me the true wisdom that comes from you. Help me to sow your gospel of peace and be a peacemaker.

One Word: Embrace wisdom from God

James 3:1-12 -TAMING THE TONGUE – 5-15-19 Devotional

James 3:1-12 -TAMING THE TONGUE – 5-15-19 Devotional

James 3:1-12       Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 3:7     5-15-19

“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,” (ESV)

Dear Lord heavenly Father, thank you for always teaching us about priorities and teaching us what is right and wrong. Your word is a lamp unto our paths. The ultimate priority is to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. (Matt 6:33). Another is to do all things for your glory alone. Guide my feet along life’s path, all the way to the kingdom of God. Grant me insight into this passage. I thank you and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: The Tongue Is An Indicator Of What Is Going On In Our Lives (1-6)

Verses 1-6, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (ESV)

James tells us in verse 1 that not many should become teachers. Is it because not many people knew the Gospel? Is it because they were unable to teach others what they have personally discovered about Jesus and his word? No. All Christians know something about the Gospel and about their life experience with their Lord Jesus. They can teach what they know. They can guide people though the Scripture. Then why is it that not many should become teachers?

According to James people stumble in many ways. There is a list as long as your arm. But the greatest problem is the problem with the tongue. Many Christians cannot control their tongues and as a result they disqualify themselves from being teachers. Why is this?

Though James is talking about our tongues, he is referencing our daily lives. Controlling your tongue is a reflector, or indicator, of how a person is able to control their lives. James says that the tongue is like a bit used to control a horse or like a rudder of a ship. A person who can control his tongue can control himself in every other way. If a person can not control their tongue then their lives are like a ship that is drifting off course.

If a person thinks he is called to be a teacher within the church, then his life must glorify Jesus. His life must be congruent with the Gospel. Their words and their deeds must be in line with the teachings of the Bible. A person cannot be a teacher and at the same time live as a hypocrite. A person may be very skilled in hiding hypocrisy in their lives. They can appear holy. But there is one thing that they cannot hide, they cannot hide their words and the messages that are spoken through their tongues. If we are double-minded, our words will reveal it. If we praise God and curse people made in God’s image, our double-mindedness is exposed.

The tongue is more than just an indicator. It is also an instrument that can hurt others or bless others. The tongue is small but it can start a great fire. A person can destroy his own life and the lives of others by saying hurtful or unnecessary things. What we deliberately teach others has great influence; what we say casually without much thought sometimes has even more influence. By our words we can plant doubt and cause someone to give up in despair; or we can plant faith and hope and courage.

Part 2: No Person Can Tame The Tongue And So Come To God (7-12)

Verses 7-12, “7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” (ESV)

God’s sets a very high standard for Christians in this passage. The reality is, no one has such control over themselves. Even godly individuals will lose control over their tongues on certain occasions. That may put a great burden on anyone who has stepped up to be a teacher of the God’s word because James teaches that we who teach are judged more strictly.

Does that mean that we give up our on our mission in teaching about the word of God? By no means. It does mean that we must be very humble and confess our inadequacy and ask God’s help to control our tongues and ask for grace for God to guide our lives so that we can live as teachers of the Gospel. If it is God’s will that we be a Bible teacher, then he will help us. He will equip us. In our weakness he will grant us his strength so that we can bring glory to God.

We cannot tame our tongues on our own, but God can change our hearts. It is true, that…“Out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 15:18). We tend to take this in a negative sense, to prove the fact that we are guilty before the Lord because of the words of our mouths. But it is also true that when God forgives our sins and creates in us a new heart, then out of the regenerated heart the mouth speaks also. God can make our tongues instruments of righteousness. He can also guide our lives on paths of righteousness by the same act of regeneration.

Side note: But on the flip side, if it is not your calling to be an official Bible teacher in the church, then accept it. Accept the fact that that God will still want you to share the Gospel personally in your daily life, but not be an official teacher in the church. That is OK. Your role in sharing the Gospel is just as vital.

Prayer: Lord, change my inner life until my lips are used only to praise you and strengthen others.

One Word: Only God can tame my tongue

James 2:14-26. SHOW ME YOUR FAITH -5-13-19 devotional

James 2:14-26. SHOW ME YOUR FAITH -5-13-19 devotional

James 2:13-26         Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 2:18     5-13-19

“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.”

Dear Lord God Almighty. Thank you for showing us the most satisfying path in life and leading along this path until we see you face to face in the Kingdom of God. Seeing different places and meditating on humanistic self-help statements only satisfy so much. We need your word and your grace and your guiding hand to truly satisfy our souls. Thank you for being there so that I can turn to you and meditate on your grace and truth. Help me to understand something about this passage today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Part 1: Saving Faith Will Be Accompanied by Action (14-19)

Verses 14-19: “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! “ (ESV)

Apparently, there were some Christians who were saying that a person could have saving faith without accompanying works. They were saying that believing that “God is one” was enough to be considered saved and a member of God’s household. James wanted to set them straight. True Christian faith is necessarily accompanied by good works. And simply believing that God is one is not enough. James says that even demons believe that and yet the demons are definitely not saved.

Similar ideas are floating around today. There are some Christians that are so against associating salvation with works that they completely divorce saving faith from works. They rightly say that works cannot save you and that works are simply expressions of faith. Works are an act of worship. They are acts of obedience and expressions of thanksgiving to God. But they separate works from salvation. Some site the thief on the cross next to Jesus, who was saved by his faith alone, for he was unable to do any good works for he was nailed to the cross.

But, from this passage, we see that Biblical faith is expressed in action. If our faith does not take root in our hearts and flow into our hands and feet, it is dead. Faith that does not affect our lives is not real faith. Such faith is insincere. It is just like saying to a hungry brother, “Good luck. I’ll see you around,” and then doing nothing to help him.

How we reconcile all of this. I look at it this way…. faith in Christ and the Gospel is what saves you. Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior makes us into children of God. John 1:12 reads, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (ESV). The thief on the cross was saved through believing. He would go to paradise with Jesus.

But, if our faith is genuine, God will transform our lives. We will become new creations. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV) Our hearts are not the same. We will want to do good works. The Holy Spirit will work in hearts and compel us to do good works. Our life will be marked by good works that bring glory to God. It will flow from within us and out to others. God does this so that the goods works God produces in our lives will bring glory to Jesus and his Gospel. Our lives will also be blessed through them. We will taste heavenly joy. This is not saying that our works saves us at all. Works do not save. Faith saves. But if our lives are not producing good works, then we need to stop a moment and ponder our spiritual condition.

If we claim to be Christians and do not have good works pouring out from our lives, we need to step back and assess ourselves. According to James, even demons believe that God is one. But demons do not have good works. That is the equivalent to a person saying that they are Christians and believe that Jesus is the Messiah who came to save us from our sins and give us eternal life, and they do not live a Christian life at all. It is like a Mafioso that goes to church and at the same time shakes down people and murders them. Does that make any sense?

I am not saying that once you are saved then you go out and start up orphanages, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens and donate your kidney to a stranger. No. But you will begin to show acts of kindness and concern for others. A person who was always angry begins to be patient, kind and compassionate. A person may serve in the church. They may volunteer at the local soup kitchen or food pantry. They may start to show more attention to their kids, and show love and concern to their spouses. They may begin to obey some of the practical direction that they hear from their pastor in the pulpit…etc…etc.

If our lives are not marked by godly works, then we need to be slow to speak and be quick to listen to God’s word. We need to look into God’s word and keep looking intently into it as looking into a mirror until God speaks his truth into our hearts. If a person claims to be a Christian, then they can surely pray to God to help them overflow with good works for God’s glory.

Part 2: Examples of The Obedience of Faith From The Bible (20-26)

Verses 20-26, “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.” (ESV)

James gives two examples of faith that is seen in actions. One is Abraham. He was called God’s friend. He trusted God so fully that he could obey him even to the point of offering his only son on the altar. Paul tells us that obedience comes from faith (Ro 1:5).

Romans 4b-6 reads, “…Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” (ESV)

The other person James uses as an example is Rahab. She was a prostitute and a Canaanite–one of those destined for destruction. But she believed that the God of Israel was the Creator and Lord of the earth. She showed her faith by risking her life to help two Israelite spies. God considered her righteous, and she was saved.

There is definitely enough evidence from the Bible telling us that faith and obedience go hand in hand. Apostle Paul called it, “Bringing out the obedience of faith.” (Romans 1:5) Why do we call Jesus our Lord and Savior? If he is our Lord then we need to obey him.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have practical faith. Help me couple faith and works so that you can shine froth from my life.

One Word: Show faith by obedient actions

James 2:1-12. Honor Faith Among God’s People – 5-11-19 devotional

James 2:1-12. Honor Faith Among God’s People – 5-11-19 devotional

James 2:1-12   Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 2:1   5-11-19

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” ESV (1)

Dear Lord God Almighty. Thank you for steadfast love. Though this world and our lives are filled with uncertainty, you are a steadfast rock on which we can stand. I find security in you, even though we have been placed in an insecure position. We trust in you. Help me to grow spiritually today through this passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Those Whom God Has Chosen (1-7)

Verses 1-7, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?” (ESV)

Apparently, there were people in the church who were showing partiality to people and giving honor to them based on their wealth and subsequent position in society. They were looking down on the poor people and separating them from the rich in church gatherings. They were making distinctions based on “human” criteria and not on God’s criteria. This is not right for the people of God to do. But sadly, it happens. It happened 2,000 years ago and it happens today. The standards of the world, leach into the fellowship of believers.

As believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, we must learn to see people as he does. Jesus does not look at wealth or standing in society. He looks at Gospel faith and those living out that faith. Therefore, as the people of God, we must put highest priority on spiritual values. Those who are rich in faith, (materially rich or poor) should be honored for their faith, definitely more than those who have no faith but are rich in worldly things. If we treat rich, worldly people with deference, elevating them in the church simply because of their wealth, and treat people who are poor with indifference, we become judges with evil thoughts.

This teaching about not showing partiality was revolutionary in the Roman world. People were honored because of their wealth. The poor were dishonored. Many of the poor were slaves. They might have been nobodies in the world, but within the church they were precious children of God and servants of God. They were held in high esteem. Christianity was very appealing to the poor. It brought hope and respect and honor to them. Many of the first believers were from among the poor.

 

I thank God for our congregation at Kishwaukee Bible Church. There are people who are richer than others. Some have professional careers. Some are business owners. Some are not. But people are honored because of their faith and their service to Christ. That is the way it must be. Our relationships with each other must reflect the priorities that we have as citizens of the Kingdom of God.

This does not mean that I disrespect those with lucrative careers and who are business owners. They pay taxes. They build up the infrastructures of our communities. Rich Christians can use their wealth and their business opportunities to serve the church body, and the rich people I know do just that. But we all know, rich and poor, that the greatest honor is to have faith in Christ. If we are to glory in anything, we must glory in that.

As an add on, I see here a Biblical definition of evil. People think evil involves heinous and violent crimes. But according to this passage, showing deference to the rich and disrespecting the poor, within the church, is evil. That would be a shocker for some people. I need to accept God’s definition of evil and not the world’s definition.

Part 2: Love Others Equally Regardless of Wealth and Standing (8-12)

Verses 8-12, “8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.” (ESV)

The Royal Law is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Showing partiality, based on wealth and standing, is negating the law of love. Choosing the rich over the poor is not loving your neighbor as yourself.

How is showing partiality to people within the church not an act of love? When a person does this then they are discriminating against the poor. They hurt their feelings in an untruthful way. They are shut out of fellowship. They may be overlooked for positions of leadership in the church. They are made to feel inadequate, when they are not. They might not receive resources that would be due them.

Think about Jesus. He did not show partiality. He did not pour out his blessings only on those with high paying jobs and a good income and high social standing. He came to lepers and the poor. There were a few rich people he went to, like the tax collector and Zacchaeus. But mostly Jesus came to those who knew that they were spiritually sick and in need of the Spiritual Doctor, Jesus Christ. Jesus honored his twelve disciples and not the Pharisees. The disciples were ordinary men and yet they are the ones that God worked through to change the course of history by bringing the message of salvation to the world. The Old Testament echoes this truth. Deuteronomy 10:7, “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” (ESV) His people reflect his character.

When the scribe in Luke 10 asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. My neighbor is whoever needs my help. The Ten Commandments were given as guidelines for loving our neighbors. We become lawbreakers if we break even one. If we show mercy and kindness to some neighbors but withhold it from others, we break the Royal Law of love and become judges with evil thoughts. But always remember, we must be strict in applying the law to ourselves, and generous in applying it to others.

This is serious business. We may be good church members, serving in the church and offering up money and prayers. We may serve the needy. But if we show partiality to the rich and those with higher social standing, then we are sinning against God and against God’s people. We need to be humble and set our hearts on obeying Christ in our relationships. God’s glory is at stake.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see people as you see them. Help me to honor faith and not just wealth and social standing. Help me to love my neighbor, whoever they may be, rich or poor.”

One Word: See people with Christ’s eyes and relate to them equally with God’s love.

James 1:26-27. RELIGION ACCEPTABLE TO GOD – 5-9-19 devotional

James 1:26-27. RELIGION ACCEPTABLE TO GOD – 5-9-19 devotional

James 1:26-27     Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 1:27   5-9-19

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (ESV)

Dear Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for the freedom and opportunity to freely meditate on your word and share that with the world. Thank you for the freedom of Christian self-expression. People are not free to do this in many parts of the world. But, by your grace we are here in America. I thank you for that. Please bless my meditation on this passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Keep a Tight Bridle On The Tongue (26)

Verse 26, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (ESV)

Jesus said that the words that come out of our mouths reflect what is in our hearts (Mk 7:21-23). Paul said that the depraved man has a corrupted mouth (Ro 3:12-14).

Let’s look at these verses…

Mark 7:21-23,For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV) – Jesus Christ

Romans 3:12-14, “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” (ESV) Paul quoting the Old Testament.

According to James, a person’s religion is worthless if he cannot put a bridle on his tongue.

What a Christian says, should build up and encourage others. Lies, gossip, words that damage another’s reputation or discourage him should not come out of our mouths. We must not fall into the trap of the world and allow our mouths to spew out criticism of everyone and everything.

This not easy to do. It is a lot easier to criticize and say negative things then to build each other up with our words. What are we doing when we criticize others? We are subconsciously elevating ourselves above that other person. We are exalting ourselves in our own minds. We are placing ourselves in the seat of judgement. It is a very self-centered and self-righteous thing to do.

And really, nobody is attracted to that kind of talk. It does not make people want to learn about Jesus from you. People are really moved when they hear us building up and encouraging others. If we really want to point others to Christ, we must be speaking words of truth and encouragement, in love.

We should use our mouths to teach the Bible and to praise God. How true this is. This is ultimately the purpose of our ability to communicate with others, it is to communicate to others about our Savior Jesus and to point the way to Him. I really need to do more sharing of the word. I praise God for the opportunities to do so, with patients, with friends. I thank God for the direction and the tools to speaking the word of God by a textual study of the book of James. I pray that I may be noted as a Christian who speaks about the Gospel a lot.

Part 2: Look After The Needy; Keep Pure (27)

Verse 27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (ESV)

Religion is not complex. It is simple. James puts it here very clearly. True religion is not just a matter of what we believe; it is really concerned with how we act. It is both. We must have the mind of Christ, and serve those who need our help. We must not follow the ways of the world or our peers into a corrupt lifestyle, no matter how tempting the invitation may be.

Orphans and widows under affliction can be summarized as those who are the most vulnerable in society. They must be visited and looked after. Today, who is the most vulnerable? Orphans, foster kids, homeless people, illegal aliens struggling to survive in an unfriendly land, the sick, the aged, prisoners, the lonely, the shut ins, women subjected to domestic abuse. We need to open our eyes to the most vulnerable around us and visit them, and when we visit them, we must open our mouths and speak words of love and encouragement and the Gospel truth.

We need to keep ourselves unstained from the world. That definitely does not mean isolate yourself from everything, for we should be un-isolating ourselves by visiting the vulnerable.

We are helpless to keep ourselves unstained with our own strength. We need to depend on Jesus. That is why Bible study and prayer is so important. It is one way, that is within our grasp, of remaining unstained in the world. Having an attitude of obedience to the word of God is important. Repenting of our sins is vital. God’s grace of forgiveness totally makes us unstained. Living in that abundant and overflowing grace keeps us unstained. 1 Peter 1:19, “But with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Jesus knows that his disciples are walking in a sin filled world. He knows that there is a tendency to get stained by it. Jesus said in John 13:10,The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” Jesus’ disciples need to wash their feet once and awhile. I believe that happens when we come to Jesus with humble, repentant hearts and newly receive his grace of forgiveness. That is one reason that daily devotions are so important. They are not just to grow in our knowledge of Jesus and the Gospel, but also to look intently into the mirror of the word of God and come to Jesus and have our feet washed of the stains of this world.

This means that we agree that we have become stained…that we are helpless to not get stained…and that we must deal with, “our dirty feet” by coming to Christ. This takes self-awareness and humility and agreement with the word of God. Lord, please grow this quality in my heart.

Prayer: “Lord, forgive me for making religion more complicated than it is. Help me to practice pure Christian faith in my life and promote Gospel faith to those around me.”

One Word: Possess a faith that pleases God