Category Archives: Daily Spark

James – Tue – 21-12-07

Have you noticed that racism is a major topic of conversation these days? Of course, how could you miss it! You hear it in the national political debate. The media focuses on it constantly. It is even a hot topic at local school board meetings. It seems everyone is talking about racism. It also seems everything is racist! Some are even arguing that the difference in the number of trees in some neighborhoods vs. others is a sign of racism.

There’s also a lot of discussion about how to solve the racism some believe permeates the culture. White privilege and critical race theory have become buzz words. According to these concepts, the way to counter racism is to discriminate in favor of the oppressed groups. All the talk is confusing and exhausting!

What a contrast James 2:8-9 provides. It says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (NIV)

This is much clearer that critical race theory! First, notice James tells us that favoritism and discrimination are sins. Racism is wrong. These violate the royal law. Second, he tells us how to overcome these sins. Love your neighbor as yourself. Wouldn’t we all be happier if we lived by this law? Today, don’t focus on arguing and debate. Rather, love your neighbor as yourself.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Mon – 21-12-06

“It’s not fair!” Have you ever said that? Most of us learn to say it at an early age. Every human being cares deeply about fairness and justice. Unfortunately, we don’t always understand what fairness is. For many, fairness is whatever they want. That’s how most kids use the term. Someone else has the toy so they lament that it’s not fair.

It takes most people a few years to learn that fairness means treating people the same, equally. It is the opposite of favoritism or discrimination. Even as adults, many struggle with fairness. They treat others differently because of their looks, their education or their fame. But the most common way they treat other differently is all about money.

This shouldn’t be the case! Listen to what James 2:1-4 says, “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”(NIV)

If we follow Jesus, we must be truly fair. We can’t discriminate or show favoritism toward the rich, or the poor!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Sun – 21-12-05

Bird watchers learn songs, colors and flight patterns of birds. That’s so they can spot them. You have to know what a species looks like to be sure you’ve seen it.

This is true for religion and spirituality as well. Can you spot a religious person? Mark DeJesus published an article entitled “10 Signs You Have a Religious Spirit.” Included in his list are the following things: being argumentative and emotionally stiff, judging people on appearance and being closed to change.* Are you surprised? DeJesus believes being religious is bad. Like many people today, he defines the word religious as the counterfeit of a heart in tune with God. For him, being religious is the same as being a hypocrite.

But that isn’t the way the book of James uses the word religious. It uses the word in the opposite way, as one truly pleasing to God. Hear what James 1:26-27 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV)

In other words, a truly religious person displays control of speech, helping those in need and avoiding the moral compromises of the culture. I hope James would find me, and you, to be religious.

*Mark DeJesus, “10 Signs You Have a Religious Spirit,” September 22, 2017,

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Sat – 21-12-04

There are a lot of mirrors in our house. I bet you have many as well. We have a mirror in the bathroom, one on the dresser and another on the bedroom wall. We have another near an entrance. Some women also carry mirrors in their purse. Mirrors are useful. We use them often to check our appearance, which is a good thing! You wouldn’t want to see my hair the way it looks first thing in the morning!

Can you imagine someone who looked in the mirror and saw their messed up hair, dirty face and stained clothes – and didn’t do anything to fix their appearance?! That would be silly, right?

James tells us that we often do something like that on a spiritual level. James 1:22-25 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.” (NIV)

Today, when you see a mirror, may it remind you to listen to God’s word, and do it.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Fri – 21-12-03

If there is one command in the Bible that everyone wants others to obey, it is James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (NIV)

Every mother wants her kids to be quick to listen, right? They also want their husbands to be quick to hear! But let’s not talk about that, ok?! We all also want co-workers, government leaders, teachers and neighbors to be quick to hear us. I think being quick to hear and slow to speak are connected. If you are going to listen to another, you will be slow to speak.

Also, being quick to listen means you will likely be slow to anger. Now that is one thing, I’d like to see more politicians live by! It seems that they are always quick to anger. They also stir up anger in others. Probably because angry people want to take action. So, they stoke the outrage to get people to act on their agenda.

You know, if we all lived by these three rules life would be better. But that is not the real reason to follow them. The real reason is because anger does not bring about a righteous life. Today, slow down your anger. Slow down your speech and listen to others!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Thu – 21-12-02

Have you ever been disappointed in the outcome of something? Sometimes, after going trick or treating on Halloween, kids are disappointed in the types of candy received. It’s kind of a microcosm of life, isn’t it. We get some good things and some bad things. We vote in an election and some of our candidates win while other lose. Some days are sunny and warm. Other are cold and wet. We have years of good health, and then something bad crops up.

When bad things happen, some people blame God. They think God gave them something bad. They’re kind of like those kids with the Halloween candy, upset that someone gave them junk candy. They need to listen to James 1:16-18, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” (NIV)

Remember, God is the source of everything good in life. He doesn’t bless you one day and then change his mind and drop bad things on you the next. He doesn’t change. He chose to bless us with new birth in Jesus. And that is the very best thing God has given us!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Wed – 21-12-01

A few decades ago, Flip Wilson was a comedian with a popular television show. Part of his act was to dress up like a woman named Geraldine. Geraldine repeated a line that became a catch phrase at the time. It was, “The devil made me do it.” That was Geraldine’s excuse. If she bought an expensive dress, the devil made her buy it. Wilson got a lot of laughs talking about the temptations Geraldine and other characters fell into by using the line “the devil made me do it.”

But we know the devil doesn’t make us do anything. And we know temptation doesn’t come from God. James 1:13-15 makes it clear where temptation starts. It says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (NIV)

That’s right! Each of us have desires that are the source of our temptation. The more we entertain those thoughts, the harder it is to resist. We may laugh about temptation in a comedy skit, but it is no laughing matter. Stay faithful to God when facing trials and temptation! When you have stood the test, God will give you the crown of life!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Tue – 21-11-30

Do you consider yourself rich or poor? Or maybe you think you are somewhere in the middle. You know, neither rich nor poor. The funny thing is, being rich is really a relative thing. People can usually think of someone richer than they are. So they tend not to view themselves as rich.

Let’s change the thought a bit. James wrote in his book about the rich and poor. Most of us today would be considered incredibly wealthy by James. The wealthy of his day had servants. Today, we have replaced servants with things such as microwaves, washing machines, automobiles, automatic vacuums, plumbing and electricity. We have access to electronic devices, meal delivery services and medical care. So don’t kid yourself. You are rich.

Listen to what James says to us in James 1:9-10, “The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.” (NIV)

James reminds of an undeniable truth about life. Even as we go about our business, we will fade away. We last a short time. So focus on receiving the crown of life that God gives to those who love him!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Mon – 21-11-29

Have you ever agonized over a decision? Maybe it was which job to take, or which college to attend or whether to go to college or not. Sometimes people agonize over whether to date a person or continue to date the person. Life is filled with decisions about what to do and which path to take. And these decisions are often difficult to make. That’s why we need wisdom.

Of course, most people don’t understand what wisdom is. It is all about ethics and morals. Wisdom is about right vs. wrong. Sometimes in our decisions, we have the choice between two options that are both ethical. But every decision must begin with right vs. wrong. That’s what wisdom defines.

The good news is that wisdom can be acquired! James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

Need some wisdom? Ask God. He’ll show you what is right. When you ask, don’t try to have it both ways. Trust God and follow him!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.

James – Sun – 21-11-28

Many years ago, I was an athlete on my high school team. After football or basketball practice, the coach would line us up for a drill called wind sprints. It sounds like such a pleasant term! But they were not pleasant. The coach would blow his whistle, making us run in short bursts. Then we’d do it again, and again and again. He didn’t stop until we had no wind left! They should have been called “windless sprints” because he left us gasping for air.

Why would the coach put us through such agony? Because he wanted to build our endurance. We needed to be in condition for the real game. So, he put us through the drills.

The same thing is true about our spiritual endurance. It requires testing to develop. Listen to what James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)

Do you see the big picture? It can be unpleasant, even agony, to go through the trials of life. But they are useful for creating in us perseverance and eventually maturity. And, as verse 12 says, if we persevere under trial, we will receive the crown of life!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.