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Thoughts: Many names are used for God – Lord, Father, Creator, the Almighty. James 1:17 calls God “The Father of lights.” When James wrote, lights were not plentiful, nor were they easily obtained.
Of course, there were natural lights – made by God – the sun, the moon, the stars, lightning. Man had discovered fire and had made candles and lanterns. Natural lights were not controllable. Man-made lights were temporary. But the Father of lights was not variable, nor was there any shadow of turning with Him.
“Great is thy faithfulness, great is they faithfulness. There is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not, the compassions they fail not. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”
Discussion: What special gift do you remember receiving?
Activity: Give careful thought to the next gift you give. Try to give the good and perfect gift.
Thoughts: Some of us are list-makers. We describe the supremely organized person as making lists of his/her lists. Today’s scripture contains a list that would make pacifists tremble.
We are admonished (twice)
Often we hear – and say, “I’ve done everything I can.” Have we indeed “done all”? Are we still standing?
Discussion: What particularly evil day have you withstood.
Activity: Reach out with kind words to someone who is beset by evil days.
Thoughts: I am blessed with sweet memories of my mother’s singing as she worked. Mostly, she sang hymns, and she knew all the verses. Our days were filled with the joy of “There’s within my heart a melody,” the reminder that “Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is calling,” and the supplication, “Spirit of God, descend you my heart.”
Her singing was dear and familiar background to our days at home. We scarcely heard it consciously. One summer our cousin from Los Angeles visited us. He seemed very sophisticated and very rich; he had money to buy double-decker ice cream cones.
The first morning of his visit, he remarked, “Your mother must be very happy today.”
I looked up from my pancakes in surprise. “What makes you think she’s happy?”
“She’s singing!” my cousin exclaimed.
“She always sings,” my sister told him. “Please pass the syrup.”
Discussion: What is your favorite hymn?
Activity: Do you know this verse?
“In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow thee.”
Thoughts: “Be ye angry, and sin not . . . .”
“Be ye angry, but sin not . . . .”
We have been taught that both “and” and “but” are conjunctions. “And” signals a logical following action. “I saw my friend, and I waved.”
“But” signals a change of direction. “I detest Brussel sprouts, but I ate them when Aunt Atossa served them for dinner.”
Realistically, we know that angry feelings will come, unless you live alone in a mountain hut and see no one. Even then, you might become angry with a rabbit who feasted on the emerging carrots in your garden. Or a raucous blue jay who wakened you from a delicious morning sleep.
If we do become angry and sin not, perhaps we may begin to enter a state of grace. Could we learn to quell our anger and not be tempted to sin?
Discussion: How would you define “righteous anger”?
Activity: Ephesians 4:32 is worth memorizing. “And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
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