The Brother who was Called James


James; the brother of Jesus Christ.  An amazing character in the saga of the early Christian church.  But James didn’t start out as an amazing man, but as a confused individual who knew nothing of God’s plan for his life.

James wasn’t a great leader at first.  He didn’t believe in the person of Jesus Christ. He didn’t believe Jesus, his own brother.  He thought Jesus was confused and mentally unstable. He was ashamed of how Jesus presented himself, and he couldn’t understand the motives behind Jesus’ work.

Jesus actually hints at James’ unbelief when Jesus says in Mark 6:4 (NLT), “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”

James was a nobody, and the doubt in his heart kept him from seeing the amazing works that Jesus was performing daily among the Jews and gentiles.  His doubt separated him from God, and that separation is an experience that is prevalent in many of us today.  We are yearning for something, but we just can’t quite figure out what IT is.  God calls us to put down the doubt, throw away the lack of faith and and let God pick you up from the ashes.

It took a while for James to realize this.  Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough, The rumors and eye witnesses of the apostles claiming they had seen the risen Jesus wasn’t enough.

But when Jesus appeared to James, he realized he was wrong the whole time.  Jesus’ appearance to James isn’t in the gospels, but it is in 1 Corinthians 15:7 (NLT), Paul writes that Jesus “… was seen by James, and later by all the apostles.”

James went on to be the overseer of the Christian church in Jerusalem.  He became an amazing leader, and ultimately was martyred for his belief in Jesus Christ as the messiah.

But now, we are full of doubt, as humans, we want to be able to see so we can believe. But nevertheless, God is still there with open arms.  It doesn’t matter if we go to church every day, or have never stepped foot into one.  It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been or how you’ve done it. God loves us all, and Jesus’ mercy is for all.  God’s grace is stronger than doubt, and definitely larger than any sin you or I have ever committed.

If you want to learn more about God’s grace, I strongly recommend looking up Romans chapter 5, and if you want to ask me questions, ask me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

 

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I Stand For. . .


I have no answers today, and I’m not even going to make any statements.  Well, then again, I may make one or two, but for the most part, I only want to ask questions.  What is it that you stand for?  That’s my question.  We see advertisements, political campaigns, religious groups, humanitarian organizations, and many others that stand for a certain cause.  And this is a really good question. What do you stand for?  Everyone stands for something, whether we want to or not.  We must know what we stand for.  One organization that I used to be a part of, Invisible Children, stands for the freedom of children in Central Africa.  They want to see that children in this area will no longer be taken as child soldiers for the LRA and will be able to live in peace.  They know what they stand for, and they work really hard to promote their position.  They have worked so hard that their cause came to the attention of President Obama.  They know what they stand for, and like Invisible Children, we too must know what we stand for.  In life, there will come a time when we are questioned.  We will be interrogated, and must be prepared to answer questions.  These questions we are asked will be based on what we stand for.  And if we are confused as to where we stand, we will not be ready to answer.  Know what you stand for, and when you know what you stand for, stand up for it.  Do not be silent.