James 1 (Listen)

Greeting

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

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

Isaiah 26 (Listen)

You Keep Him in Perfect Peace

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

  “We have a strong city;
    he sets up salvation
    as walls and bulwarks.
  Open the gates,
    that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
  You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
  Trust in the LORD forever,
    for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
  For he has humbled
    the inhabitants of the height,
    the lofty city.
  He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
    casts it to the dust.
  The foot tramples it,
    the feet of the poor,
    the steps of the needy.”
  The path of the righteous is level;
    you make level the way of the righteous.
  In the path of your judgments,
    O LORD, we wait for you;
  your name and remembrance
    are the desire of our soul.
  My soul yearns for you in the night;
    my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
  For when your judgments are in the earth,
    the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
10   If favor is shown to the wicked,
    he does not learn righteousness;
  in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
    and does not see the majesty of the LORD.
11   O LORD, your hand is lifted up,
    but they do not see it.
  Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
    Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12   O LORD, you will ordain peace for us,
    for you have indeed done for us all our works.
13   O LORD our God,
    other lords besides you have ruled over us,
    but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
14   They are dead, they will not live;
    they are shades, they will not arise;
  to that end you have visited them with destruction
    and wiped out all remembrance of them.
15   But you have increased the nation, O LORD,
    you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
    you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
16   O LORD, in distress they sought you;
    they poured out a whispered prayer
    when your discipline was upon them.
17   Like a pregnant woman
    who writhes and cries out in her pangs
    when she is near to giving birth,
  so were we because of you, O LORD;
18     we were pregnant, we writhed,
    but we have given birth to wind.
  We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth,
    and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen.
19   Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
  For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead.
20   Come, my people, enter your chambers,
    and shut your doors behind you;
  hide yourselves for a little while
    until the fury has passed by.
21   For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place
    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
  and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
    and will no more cover its slain.

(ESV)

Proverbs 18 (Listen)

  Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
    he breaks out against all sound judgment.
  A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.
  When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
    and with dishonor comes disgrace.
  The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
    the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
  It is not good to be partial to the wicked
    or to deprive the righteous of justice.
  A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
    and his mouth invites a beating.
  A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
    and his lips are a snare to his soul.
  The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
  Whoever is slack in his work
    is a brother to him who destroys.
10   The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
11   A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
    and like a high wall in his imagination.
12   Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.
13   If one gives an answer before he hears,
    it is his folly and shame.
14   A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15   An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16   A man’s gift makes room for him
    and brings him before the great.
17   The one who states his case first seems right,
    until the other comes and examines him.
18   The lot puts an end to quarrels
    and decides between powerful contenders.
19   A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
    and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20   From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
    he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21   Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22   He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from the LORD.
23   The poor use entreaties,
    but the rich answer roughly.
24   A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

(ESV)

Psalm 112 (Listen)

The Righteous Will Never Be Moved

  Praise the LORD!
  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
  His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
  Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
  It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
  For the righteous will never be moved;
    he will be remembered forever.
  He is not afraid of bad news;
    his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
  He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever;
    his horn is exalted in honor.
10   The wicked man sees it and is angry;
    he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
    the desire of the wicked will perish!

(ESV)