The Book of James: Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

Today, in our summary of the Book of James, we will be looking at it from the viewpoint of the “five W’s.” Researchers, journalists, and other investigators use the “five W’s” to find out the full story of a person or subject. They include using these essential words: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. So, let’s get started.

Who Wrote The Book of James? And Who was Its Audience?

Most scholars believe James, the oldest half-brother of Jesus, wrote this five-chapter book. It is thought that James did not initially believe in Jesus, but that he became a believer after Jesus’ resurrection when the risen Lord visited him. James eventually became a prominent leader in the Jerusalem church. He wrote this letter to the scattered Jewish believers as their pastor, telling them to make changes in their lives and relationships with others. James never called himself an apostle, but in James 1:1, he calls himself “a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” He is the most likely candidate for authorship.

However, some consider two other Jameses in the Bible to be possibilities for authorship. A few scholars credit James, son of Zebedee and one of the apostles and brother of John, as the author. This theory is usually discredited because this James was martyred in 44 A.D. by Herod Agrippa. 

Others consider that James, son of Alphaeus, one of the twelve apostles, is the author. On the contrary, this James was somewhat obscure, so most Biblical scholars choose the author of the Book of James as Jesus’ half-brother—the man who is known to have knees like a camel because of the amount of time on his knees before God.

James writes from Jerusalem to the audience of the twelve tribes scattered among the nations, mainly in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. These were Jewish Christians who spread from the early Jewish Church in Jerusalem because of the spiritual decline in Jerusalem and the testing and trials they were encountering, primarily from Jewish unbelievers.

What Themes are Covered in The Book of James?

The main themes of The Book of James revolve around practical and ethical Christian living. Biblegateway.com lists ten themes in the book.¹

  1. God is the source of all wisdom
  2. Testing and trials
  3. Wealth and oppression
  4. Material things will not last
  5. The unjust rich
  6. Everything belongs to God
  7. Favoritism
  8. Godly Speech
  9. Faith and Good Deeds
  10. The Law

While this list is not exhaustive, it gives evidence of the vast topics many people are interested in and are desirous of studying.

Where is the Book of James Located in the Bible?

James is in the New Testament between the Book of Hebrews, which discusses perfection, and 1 Peter, which deliberates about the importance of knowing Jesus.

When was The Book of James Written?

The Book of James is believed to be one of the first New Testament books written. Most scholars date this book after the death of Jesus Christ—around 48 A.D.

Why Read The Book of James?

The biggest reason to read The Book of James is for its practical instructions for our life. By including multiple references to Jesus’ teaching, believers can learn to follow Christ and His principles more precisely. And who doesn’t need to know how to have patience during trials and temptations, how not to be hypocritical, how not to express favoritism, and more? Pastor Chuck Swindoll says, “More than any other book in the New Testament, James places the spotlight on the necessity for believers to act in accordance with our faith.”²

The challenge awaits to read, study, and apply James’ principles so as believers, we can talk and walk humbly before our heavenly Father and others.

Contained above are only small snippets into The Book of James, but hopefully, you have gained some insight that encourages you to dig deeper into God’s word. And as a plus, remember that the “five W’s” can be used to pursue your Bible studies, and for that matter, any other studies.

Great Verses in the Book of James (NASB)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, James 1:2

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; James 1:19

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. James 3:1

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. James 3:14

BIBLE VERSES:

See above.

PRAYER:

Oh, my heavenly Father, create in me a desire to delve more into Your word—The Bible. Give me Your insights into living my Christian life to its fullest potential. Would you please give me the grace to follow the Holy Spirit? Use me. Please enlighten me. Lead me closer to You every day. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

God Bless,

¹ Biblegateway. Accessed 23 Nov 2021. biblegateway.com.

² Swindoll, Chuck. Accessed 23 Nov 2021. insightforliving.com.

Edited by E. Johnson.

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My Favorite Pericope: James 1:5-8

Today, let us summarize a pericope from James 1:5-8.

Did I catch your attention with the word “pericope”? It is not a common word used outside of theological studies, but I will share my new vocabulary with you since I recently learned its meaning. Oxford Lexico defines a pericope as “an extract from a text, especially a passage from the Bible.” ¹

So, let’s move on!

JAMES 1:5 SAYS

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We all encounter trials! That is why we need wisdom. We must ask God for wisdom. Why? Because He gives it to us liberally and without reproach. Reproach means “disapproval or disappointment.”

SOLOMON’S PRAYER FOR WISDOM

In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you?”

And Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?”

God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king,

wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you. (2 Chron 1:7-12 NASB).

JAMES 1:6 STATES

But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

If we do not believe God will give His wisdom to us, James compares us to a wave of the sea tossed by the wind. We need to be solid and firm, not insipid about our faith.

JAMES 1:7-8 CONTINUES

For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James calls the one who does not believe he will receive wisdom from God a “double-minded man.” Some scholars call him a “double-souled man.” James also says that such a person should not expect anything from the Lord. What a tragedy when God wants to give us the best life possible by emulating Himself!

SOLOMON AND THE BABIES

In 1 Kings 3:16-28 (CEV), Solomon, a man of wisdom, had to make a difficult decision.

Two women came to him, and the first woman told him that she lived alone in the same house with another woman. This woman had a baby boy, and three days later, the second woman also had a baby boy. While they were sleeping, the second lady rolled over her baby, and he died. Then, she got up and took the first woman’s son out of her bed and put the dead baby next to her.

As you can imagine, the first woman saw the dead baby in the morning and knew it was not her son. In front of King Solomon, they continued arguing back and forth.

The king said, “Someone bring me a sword.” When a sword was brought to Solomon, he ordered that the living baby be cut in half, so each woman could have a part of the baby.

The real mother screamed, “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just do not kill him.” The second woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

With all his godly wisdom, Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.” Pointing to the first woman, he declared, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.” And all Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon wisely made his decision.

This kind of wisdom is possible for us as well. I experienced God’s wisdom when I asked Him for it early in my spiritual walk.

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH PRAYING FOR WISDOM

Back in the 1970s I was an elementary-grade teacher in the Fort Worth, Texas school system. Each spring, teachers selected by the district to be retained had to decide whether to sign a new contract, confirm their agreement to stay for the upcoming school year, or not sign and seek opportunities elsewhere.

Before me was the question of whether to stay in Fort Worth, or move to Houston. It was my first encounter with genuinely seeking God’s wisdom.

On April 1, 1977, our principal walked into my classroom while I was teaching and, in front of everyone, handed me my contract for the upcoming year. “I need it back by 4:00 p.m. today,” he said.

I was struck with fear of being forced to make such a consequential decision so quickly! I gave my students some busy work and consulted my Bible. I prayed, then searched the Scripture for the Lord’s direction.

I eventually came upon Ecclesiastes 11:5:

Just as you do not know the path of the wind, and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes everything.

While it does not make sense to anyone else but me, that verse might as well have said, “Patti, move to Houston.” That very day, I told my principal I was moving and never looked back.

I can say that following James 1:5 in asking for God’s wisdom, He answers. It might not be the way one might envision or in the timeline preferred, but God loves us so much and has so much compassion on us that He always answers at just the right time.

HOW TO ATTAIN WISDOM

  1. Ask for wisdom—not human understanding, but divine wisdom from God’s Holy Spirit.
  2. Make it a habit to cleanse yourself from all known sins.
  3. Trust in God’s word to guide you as you seek His wisdom, then
  4. Trust that God’s wisdom will change your life.

God makes wisdom attainable to us. My charge is for you to follow the steps above and always recall this Godly pericope from James 1:5-8.

PRAYER

My dear Lord, when I am fearful to ask You for help, understanding, or wisdom, guide me by Your Holy Spirit, to You—to trust You and have faith. I want to live my life fully attuned to Your will and ways, but sometimes I fail. Please give me the courage to ask for wisdom in faith to be stable in all my ways. Amen.

BIBLE VERSES

  1. Wisdom and Understanding—King David said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His Commandments; His praise endures forever!” (Psalm 111:10).
  2. Faith—Jesus said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to” (Matthew 17:20b).
  3. Stability—Paul said, “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5).
  4. Freely Given–Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:7)

God Bless,

¹”Pericope.” Dictionary. Accessed December 12th, 2021. https://www.lexico.com/definition/pericope.

Edited by E. Johnson.

Linked Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible.

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Psalm 51 Bible Study

Are you looking for a Bible study to teach or to work on yourself?

Below you will find a Bible study on Psalm 51 that can be worked on at any time. By studying straight from the Bible, my prayer is that you will discover spiritual truth and direction in your life or in the lives of others.

BIBLE STUDY TEXT: PSALM 51 (NASB)

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:1-25 for background information about King David’s sin and Nathan’s rebuke of him. This will enhance your understanding of the Bible study lesson.

A few years ago, a man wrote to Dear Abby needing help. The article titled, “Dear Abby, Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide.” This man had been married for 19 years and had two children. He fooled around, convincing himself that the women knew what they were doing and that he never promised them anything. His affairs became public, and his reputation was in ruins. He asked “Dear Abby” to provide a solution. He signed off calling himself Shattered in Louisiana. ¹

We find a similar real-life story in the fourth and most well-known penitential psalm, Psalm 51. Penitential psalms are psalms that express deep sorrow leading to a person’s true repentance of sin. Most scholars claim that King David wrote this psalm, or if not, by someone who knew the extent of the deep suffering he experienced. This prayer psalm was written after Nathan, the prophet, confronted David about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. King David was on his palace rooftop when many say he should have been with his men in battle. He looks out and sees Bathsheba bathing. He asks his men to fetch her and bring her back to the palace, where he has sex with her. She becomes pregnant. David arranges for her husband to come home from battle, anticipating that he will sleep with her and then he would take the responsibility of fatherhood. However, being an honorable man, Uriah does not go into Bathsheba and camps in tents away from her presence. David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle. [1]

  1. As a married woman, what do these two stories speak to you about being faithful in marriage?

KING DAVID’S CALL FOR MERCY, FORGIVENESS, REPENTANCE, AND CLEANSING. Read Psalm 51:1-2.

The King James Version uses the word mercy to describe what David wants from God. He is crying out to God for help. David’s goal is for God to blot out his sin, so he can be cleansed and resume fellowship with Him. To grasp how the Bible looks at blotting, cleansing, and washing away sins, refer to Isaiah 43:25, Leviticus 11:32, and Isaiah 1:18, respectively. He is aware that he willfully rebelled against God and is grieved. David is ready to confess his sin and have fellowship with God again. Today, our sins are covered by Jesus’ death on the cross.

  1. Describe a time you reached a breaking point, and you called out to God for forgiveness?

RECOGNITION OF SIN. Read Psalm 51:3-6.

David begins to openly concede he has sinned. In verse 3, David acknowledges that his sin is “ever before me.” Although he knows his sin was towards Bathsheba, Uriah, and the entire nation of Israel, he is addressing his grave sin toward God. His sin against the LORD was the most offensive. David shows his seriousness when talking of his sin by calling it EVIL.

  1. What does David’s example teach us about the seriousness of sin?

In verse 5, David is now ready to accept whatever judgment God may choose for him. David recognizes that he was born in sin in verse 5. He is not using that as an excuse for his sin, but he acknowledges that he is human. All humankind has a sinful nature within them. Here it is important that one mustn’t think David is criticizing conception or birth, but that he is just conversing with God regarding what he understands about human nature. Moving to verse 6, we find David wanting God’s truth to be within his innermost being.

In the Compact Bible Commentary, the inward parts are described as “a rare word in the Hebrew Bible, indicating something clouded over, difficult for anyone to see but God.” ² David trusted God so much that he does not mind God searching for his innermost being. These verses conclude with David desiring wisdom—God’s wisdom. [2][3]

  1. In James 1:5, what does James say we should do if we lack wisdom?

PURIFICATION, HYSSOP, SNOW, AND BONES. Read Psalm 51:7-9.

These verses contain the phrases, “purify me, wash me, make me hear joy and gladness, let my broken bones rejoice, and hide thy face from my sins.” David is pleading for cleansing from his sin. Verse 7 mentions hyssop. Hyssop was a bush whose stems were dipped in blood or water and then sprinkled on people who needed cleansing. See Leviticus 14:4 and Numbers 19:6. Ceremonial hyssop was used on lepers and others during this period. Today, we receive our cleansing from the mighty blood of Jesus Christ. David desires true repentance and pleads for a clean heart—one that will wash him, make him joyful, and heal him. He wants his life to be as white as snow. When a person accepts Christ, there are testimonies of how they feel so clean and pure inside. That is David’s desire to have his life like that again. He also wants his sins hidden from the LORD. Verse 8 is intriguing. David declares how his sin has affected his eyes and bones. It is easy to deduce that more had been affected as well. Keep in mind that when we sin, our sin does affect us. We can become depressed, ill, and even suicidal. We should take a special interest in caring for our friends and loved ones if we see their destructive behavior. Verse 9 circles back around to David desiring God to blot out his sin. (See Psalm 51:1) This repetition shows that David really is serious about repenting of all his sin.

  1. What matters most in David’s life at this point is God’s forgiveness. What matters most in your life, and how is God intertwined in the matter?

CENTRAL VERSE EXPRESSING THE HEART OF DAVID. Read Psalm 51:10-12.

The central verse (theological principle) in this Bible study comes in Psalm 51:10 when David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David desires to be renewed, restored, and transformed. In verse 10, the word create is the same word used in Genesis 1:1, which states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God in His power called the world into being, and God in his power can cleanse David from his agonizing sin. David wants a new heart and a new spirit. He recognizes that he cannot do this by himself. It is up to God. We see God cleansing Israel and giving Israel a new heart and spirit in Ezekiel 36:25-27. This concept is very similar to Psalm 51 where it speaks of sprinkling water on the Israelites for cleansing, giving them a new heart and a new spirit, and allowing them to walk in His ways again. David wants to be in God’s presence again when he says he does not want to be cast from God’s presence in verse 11. He wants God’s Spirit, and he is ready to do the Lord’s will. In our life, we do not want to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Striving to keep ourselves clean from sin is necessary for God’s Holy Spirit to move in our lives and keep us from temptation. Compare to Acts 15:8-9.

  1. While the LORD did forgive David, there were still consequences to his sin, one being the death of his son when he was 7-days old. (2 Samuel 12:18) What outcomes have you seen in your or other peoples’ lives due to sin?

Verse 12 speaks of regaining the joy of one’s salvation. David wants that “feeling” of purity and love for God back into his life. He wants it to be a sustainable feeling as well. He does not want to lose fellowship with his LORD again.

  1. Describe a time you or someone you know lost fellowship with God but then had it restored.

SINNERS CONVERTED, RIGHTEOUSNESS DELIVERED, RIGHTEOUS SACRIFICE, AND A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART. Read Psalm 51: 13-17.

In verses 13-15, David expresses his desire to be of service to God. He wants to teach others (sinners) and take what he has experienced and learned to help others. He wants to see people restored as he had been. It is a glorious event when we see others offering themselves up to serve God. Romans 5:20b eloquently states, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” David recognized his sin, and now that he has experienced restoration, he wanted to share God’s righteousness with others. Verse 14 speaks, delivering David from bloodguiltiness. Scholars believe this refers to Uriah’s blood. David experienced forgiveness for all his sins. He got right with God.

  1. What does God call David in Psalm 51:14?
  2. Have you ever experienced God’s gift of salvation? Would you like to share your salvation testimony with the class?

DELIGHT IN GOD. Read Psalm 51: 18-19.

When we look at verses 18 and 19, David is longing for God’s security. This is what he is referring to when he says, “Build the walls of Jerusalem” The walls were to be a security to God’s holy city, and that is how he wants his heart to be—secure in His LORD and to delight in Him. David gave God the sacrifice He desired, his heart. He is ready to be “the man after God’s own heart” that many call him today.

  1. Where can we find our security in God?

APPLYING THE TEXT.

· God is gracious and compassionate; therefore, when we repent, He forgives and cleanses us.

· Sin is serious and destructive.

· We must cry out to God to create a clean heart in us.

· God desires a broken and contrite heart from us.

· Once true repentance occurs, we are restored and able to delight in the Lord, our God.

CONCLUSION: REMEMBER THE MAN IN ADULTERY. Read Psalm 51:17.

At the beginning of this study, a man asked Dear Abby for advice on dealing with his guilt over affairs, leaving him thinking of suicide. Dear Abby’s answer was purposely not shared. There is only one solution for this man. It is to follow King David’s path calling on the LORD to wash him, cleanse him, and seek repentance in Jesus Christ. Then, in God’s grace, he will become pure. His broken spirit can be healed, and he can face life with a renewed heart and spirit. If not, he will remain Shattered in Louisiana.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father.

Thank you for washing me clean when I transgress against You. Lead me away from sin. Give me wisdom so that I can live with a pure heart. Keep my spirit steadfast in You. Lord, I want to be in Your presence always. Let me sing Your praises. Give me a broken and contrite heart so that I can praise You always.

In Christ Alone, Amen.

God bless,

Bibliography

Carson, D.A., R.T. France, J.A. Motyer, and G.J. Wenham, eds. New Bible Commentary. Downsers
Grove: Intervarsity, 1994.

Hays, J. Daniel and J. Scott Duvall, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 2011.

Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

Pfeiffer, Charles F. and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody
Press, 1962.

Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House. Compact Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,

Van Buren, Abagail, "Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide," Accessed 4
October, 2021.

https://www.mrt.com/news/article/DEAR-ABBY-Guilt-over-affair-leaves-husband-7477821.php.

Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Bible: Old Testament, Job—Song of Solomon. Colorado Springs,
David C. Cook, 2004.

[1]Van Buren, Abagail, “Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide,” Accessed 4 October, 2021, https://www.mrt.com/news/article/DEAR-ABBY-Guilt-over-affair-leaves-husband-7477821.php.

[2]Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 378.

Permission: I, Patti Greene, am the copyright owner of the above material titled Psalm 51: Bible Study. I consent to use this material with the expressed purpose of individual or group Bible Study only. Please give credit to the author by including: “Written by Patti Greene @ GreenePastures.org  for use in Bible studies only.”

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The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

Most of us have heard the story of the “Good Samaritan.” It is most widely known as a parable. Parables, as defined in the book How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, are “simple stories for those on the outside to whom the ‘real meaning,’ the “mysteries,” were hidden; these [belonging] only to the church and could be uncovered by means of allegory.” ¹

While the story of the Good Samaritan starts in Luke 10:30, we must first look at the reason Jesus bothered to tell this parable. The question asked by a lawyer was, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This lawyer was putting Jesus to the test. However, Christ answered and said, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And the lawyer said, “You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus responded affirmatively and answered, “Do this, and you will live.” The lawyer, wishing to justify himself, continued questioning Jesus by asking Him, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10 25-28).

It is in response to this encounter that Jesus begins His parable of the Good Samaritan to prove His point.

The story contains eight characters:

  1. A lawyer – an expert on Jewish law
  2. Jesus Christ
  3. A Jewish Priest – some say he was a Jewish temple assistant
  4. A Jewish Levite, a man of God
  5. A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho
  6. A Good Samaritan
  7. Robbers, and
  8. An innkeeper

A man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along the way, he encountered robbers (bandits) who stripped him, beat him, and left him half-dead along the road. A priest walked by along the route. When he saw the man, he chose to pass by on the other side of the road. When a Levite saw the man lying on the road, he, too, passed by on the other side of the path. Notice that these two men, from whom a more kindly-than-usual behavior is routinely expected because of their societal stations, intentionally avoided helping someone in need.

But then a Samaritan who was on a journey saw the beaten man; he felt compassion (pity). The Samaritan went to the beaten man, bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine on them (which was considered medicine in those days), put him on his animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, the Samaritan paid the innkeeper. Then he asked the innkeeper to take care of him and told him that he would repay him when he returned from his trip.

After sharing this story with the lawyer, Jesus asked him, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”

Finally, the lawyer was answering his own question. He said, “the one who showed mercy toward him.” Jesus then said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37)

While we do not know the direction of this lawyer after Jesus commanded him to “do the same,” we can ask ourselves: how would we respond?

God does provide opportunities to see how we would respond.

God’s Test

A destructive “winter freeze” at the beginning of this year caused my husband John and me to spend 87 days in a hotel while our home was gutted and renovated. One day, as we were leaving the hotel, we saw a police officer help a lady in a wheelchair being rolled up to the hotel door. John and I both concluded that she was an abuse victim. We assumed the police officer was helping her to a temporary safe place.

However, in the evening, we returned to our hotel only to see this lady sitting in her wheelchair in the cold, pelting rain near the hotel entrance. Unfortunately, due to the hotel’s request, she was not allowed to sit under the canopy, designed to protect their guests from the sun and inclement weather.

My husband said he felt the Holy Spirit wanted us to talk to and help this woman. We introduced ourselves and asked her what was going on. She was very confused and we soon discovered she was suffering from a complicated mental illness. 

While we chatted and tried to figure out how to help, the same police officer returned to the scene. The police officer told us she had been kicked out of another hotel for lack of payment. John asked the hotel clerk if we could bring this lady up to our room to help her get dried off. 

John called her mother to notify her of her daughter’s location. Her mother would not allow her to return home or help in any way, presumably a result of the ongoing mental illness. This lady’s hands flurried all over—a sign of drug withdrawal. The police officer guessed she was under the influence of methamphetamine. She went into our restroom to get cleaned off, warmed up, and then changed into some dry clothes.

The police officer was unsuccessful in placing her at a women’s shelter. Fortunately, we were able to find a motel for her to safely spend the night. John and the police officer brought her to the motel, settled her in, and left money for the night’s stay.

Some might ask, “Did you witness to her?” No, not exactly. Her more immediate needs were physical rather than spiritual, although we told her multiple times we would be praying for her. We never saw this lady again, and I hope and pray her family eventually came to her rescue.

Afterthoughts

But what sticks in my mind is my husband wheeling this lady out of our hotel room. I stared as she was being rolled out, wearing silver pants and a green-and-black tunic shirt, both donated from my wardrobe.

My thought: “But, for the grace of God, that could be me.”

This lady was one night away from being homeless. I hope by our obeying the prodding of the Holy Spirit, she never reached a homeless status.

Bible Verses:

Compassion: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Sharing: Brothers and sisters, even if a person is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you are not tempted as well. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Neighbor: I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

Prayer:

Oh Lord, please let me be attentive to Your Holy Spirit when You want to use me for Your purposes. Let me obey, provide, and learn Your lessons. So many times, I might pass by opportunities. Change me now, Lord, to see and act on the situations where You need me to be Your hands and feet. Lord, if it were not for the winter freeze, we would never have been in a hotel, and we would never have had the opportunity to help this lady. Thank you, Jesus. You know the big picture of my life. Make me more like You. I surrender all to You. And thank You for a husband who heeds Your call as well. Love You, Jesus. Amen.

Challenge:

Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to someone you can help this week! God bless.

God Bless.

GreenePastures.org

¹ Fee, Gordon and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic. 2014.

Edited by E. Johnson.

Bible Gateway Bloggers

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Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer

Just like with music, I get hooked on a particular song, and I play it over and over, much to my husband’s cagrin.

As a teenager, I remember playing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye so much that I thought my brother might rip the 45-rpm vinyl off the record player. I also obsess over topics and authors I investigate. I read an issue, or books by authors I like, until another new subject or writer piques my interest. 

The past few months, I have been obsessed with reading quite a few books by a true man of God— A.W. Tozer. During his life (1897-1963), Tozer was an American Christian pastor, Christian mentor, magazine editor, and author. As an author, he wrote sincerely! He wrote boldly! And he wrote with authority. Some of what he wrote contains many thoughts I have but am afraid to express. Maybe it’s my insecurity over being rejected, or perhaps it is my lack of courage or confidence. Either way, I am glad Tozer wrote what I mull over.

Tozer accepted Jesus Christ as his savior when he was a 17 year old teenager. His life was never the same after that. His schooling ended at 6th grade, but his education continued through extensive study in the Word of God. To read more about his life, click here. A.W. Tozer’s Biography from his Webpage!.

This past month, I wanted to read something happy, so I bought Tozer’s book, Delighting in God: True and absolute freedom is found only in the presence of God. This being a hectic time, I highlighted some sentences to share with you as I read the book. It turned out there was more conviction in the book than delighting. I know that conviction leads to confession, confession to a clean heart, a clean heart to a transformed heart, and a transformed heart to delighting in Him. So, I read on!

Below, I have quoted one sentence from each chapter of Tozer’s book, except in Chapter 7, where I splurged with two quotes, 

Two Activities

After I wrote, then reread this blog, I noticed something was missing.

What was missing was my thoughts on each profound phrase, so I quickly reread Tozer’s statements and jotted down the first thought that came to my mind. This activity reminded me of where I am at in my spiritual walk. You might find dialoguing over spiritual beliefs this way fun!

After reading Tozer’s chapter snippets, respond (aloud or on paper) to what you feel right after reading his quotation. You most likely will not have the same expressions as I did. That is to be expected, since we come from different backgrounds, encounter various trials, and experience wide-ranging circumstances. Also, our levels of maturity differ. It is an excellent dialoguing activity. To use a line from an old Alka-Seltzer commercial, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Second, as a read-through activity, just read the chapter snippets I have noted from Tozer. You might become enamored of his writing style and decide if you want to pursue more profound readings along his lines. 

Chapter Snippets

Chapter 1: What I see lacking today is passion, but more defined, a passion for God, a deep desire to know God as He desires to be known.

“Oh Lord, give me a passion to be so close to You. Let me cling to You always.”

Chapter 2: What the Holy Spirit does not reveal to us is not worth knowing.

“This is hard, God. I want to know what the future holds for me, but I am not hearing from You. I remind myself You know the big picture of my life, but it doesn’t help my ruminations.”

Chapter 3: In evaluating the great advances and victories in the Christian church, we need to compare it to the New Testament pattern.

“Amen and Amen.”

Chapter 4 – Church problem – everything is programmed.

“So true Lord. I know for broadcasting, programs must be programmed, but I long for the days when we can be free to worship in our church without time restraints and just worship You until the Holy Spirit says to stop.”

Chapter 5 – You cannot reach the world by becoming like the world.

“I pray for me and my friends to not be like the world. I fail often. Let me see that as believers we are not of this world and accept that we may not quite fit in with some.”

Chapter 6: The average church . . . does not dare rise into high theology, because his poor backward sheep cannot follow him. It is hard to get people to think, but it is harder still to get them to thirst.

“Let our pastors and church leaders proclaim the Word of God without fear or trembling. Allow the Word of God to deeply infiltrate their lives, so only Your pure and righteous teaching may be preached. Let us understand church is for worshiping You, not for worldly entertainment.”

Chapter 7: What weakens us in evangelical circles is that we put a plus sign after Christ.

“Nothing can be added to You, God. I can’t add works, more Bible studies, more church work to add on to You. It is only a deeper walk with You that we need. Let us confess our sins and look to You for everything.”

Another Sentence from Chapter 7: Twenty minutes on your knees in silence before God will sometimes teach you more than you can learn even in church.

“This is so true, Jesus. When I am silent before You, You speak. Let my time with You be so much longer than just 20 minutes. I know I need so much more silence and solitude.”

Chapter 8: The first duty of every minister of the gospel is to bring God back to the church—not the intellectual God of the academics, not the palsy God of the gospelers, not the chairman of the board, but the God who reveals Himself in the Scriptures and who revealed Himself supremely in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Amen. Lord, I pray for my ministers and mentors. Do not let them fall into such spiritual warfare that God isn’t preached in truth and power. Let me always keep in my mind that in all I do, I must be humble before You as I face the hard things in life.”

Chapter 9: Whatever in my life is unlike God and contrary to the holiness of God must be eliminated from my life.

“Man, I so need to remember this. I pray for elimination over and over and over. I desire it, but it is so hard when the same thoughts keep seeping through my mind. Heal me of all ungodly thoughts and teach me what triggers I have that leads me astray.”

Chapter 10: To know about God and to know God are two absolutely, different things.

“I want my friends–even my church friends to understand this.”

Chapter 11: God cannot be manipulated.

“So true. Try as we may, God cannot be manipulated. He knows what is best for us and that is the direction He pursues for us. I sometimes try to get MY desires met through prayer and persuasion, but in reality, He is the one in charge–not us.”

Chapter 12: It is impossible to separate the Old Testament from the New Testament. It takes the whole Bible to make the Word of God.

“I heard once that when we read the entire Bible, we open ourselves up to hear ALL God wants to tell us. But, if we only read part of the Bible or only the parts we like, it is like us telling the Lord, ‘We DON’T want to know too much about Him.’ Lord, keep me in Your Word using all the different and creative ways I have seen You do, both in the past and currently.”

Chapter 13: So, God takes us through many trials, and it is not so important that we be happy right now. He is thinking about our enjoyment forever.

“Amen! If I can only live in the light of wanting Heaven more than anything else. I need Your strength each day to do that. I am so weak in this area.”

Chapter 14: Your own thoughts are heard by Him just as loud as Your loudest shout because God is as near to You as Your nerves, as near to You as Your thoughts and Your soul.

Jesus, I know You hear my thoughts and my prayers, but I sometimes wonder (maybe a lot) why You are not giving me relief in the areas that concern me. Come Lord Jesus and answer me with solid and specific ideas. Please take away any thoughts or prayers that I pray that might not be honorable to You. And, I need You to obliterate any distractions that Satan throws at me. Please.”

Chapter 15: I believe that the most important verse in the Bible is “In the beginning.” The most astounding and powerful phrase of all Scripture is “Thus saith the Lord.”

“Thus saith the Lord” is everywhere in the Bible. Let me hear You clearly when You say that phrase to me. Convince me it is You speaking and not my imagination or wishful thinking.”

Chapter 16: [Prayer] is more than a monologue—it is a dialogue. I am afraid most Christians have not progressed to the dialogue aspect of their prayer life.

“Lord, I know that is true. It hurts when I realize how difficult it is to dialogue–both myself and others. But, I know when we dialogue, it is a precious time between You and me. I love listening to Your Word, to the thoughts I obtain in the quiet times. I love dialoguing with my friends, but dialoging with You is the best. Please, do not let me get so busy where I am tempted to give my time with You up to do something else.”

Chapter 17: God is good.

Yes, I love that I have recently discovered Nahum 1:7, where it says, “The LORD is good.”

Chapter 18: Too many these days are going about the country making contented Christians. This is one of the worst possible things that could be done in the church—make a content Christian. We should not want contentment but a thirst for hunger after God. As long as we are without the thirst and hunger, we will be content.

“At church, make convictions a reality for us. Let us continually be reminded of sin. Why? So we will continue to become aware of our sins and shortcomings. Convict us, so we move to remove them from our lives. Give us Your humility to bow down in pure love to honor You. I want Your desires to be my desires. I want to become more and more like You. I want transformation.  I want (I need) to be transformed daily into Your image. Please take away any sinful or unpure thoughts, so my mind can be clear to hear Your Word.

Moving On

If anything caught your attention through my chapter highlights or quotes, I would love for you to share your thoughts with me through the comment section.

Okay, I feel it coming on again–that “hooked on a feeling” song. My song this time is “Til He Comes” by the Imperials! I know I am aging myself, but music is music. And the topic of this song is highly profitable as well! Right? Check it out on YouTube or through this link.

If you are a YouTuber, click here to hear “Til He Comes” by the Imperials.

Love y’all.

Bible Verses:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature (1 Corinthians 14:20).

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you (John 14:26).

God Bless.

greenenpastures.org

Prayer:

Jesus, I want to hunger and thirst for You — for Your righteousness. Every day that I wake up, Lord, create in me a new heart. A heart that desires You more than anything or anyone else. Give me Your strength, wisdom, discernment, and joy until You come again to take us home to be with You forever and ever. In Your Name, Amen.

Work Cited

Tozer, A.W. Delighting in God: True and absolute freedom is found only in the presence of God. Ada, MI: Bethany House, 2015.

Bible verses come from The New American Standard Bible (NASB). “You” and “Your” references referring to God have been capitalized for consistency.

Edited by E. Johnson.

Fun Fact

Wondering what the A.W. stands for in Tozer’s name? His full name is Aiden Wilson Tozer. He never liked his name, so he became identified with his initials.

Subscribe: Join my blog by subscription to ensure you receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family. I promise you won’t be overloaded with excessive emails — only when I post, which is no more than twice a month!

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
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  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

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Guest Blog: Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Dear Readers,

Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, my husband and I lived for two years in Lagos, Nigeria. Some people pray, “Lord, I will do anything for You, but please don’t send me to Africa.” Being sent to Africa was one of the best things in my life. I needed to be there. God sent me there to learn some important spiritual lessons that I could only have learned from being there! I also met some lovely life-long friends during the process.

One of them was our driver Lucky. Like many people in Nigeria, two jobs are a reality. Lucky worked for us at a secular job as our driver, but his “REAL” job was that of a minister. Some people believe that pastors must have higher education. I agree that education is an excellent plus for pastors, but in some situations and some countries, that is not realistic. Lucky is a self-taught minister of the gospel, and he is good at it. Theologian A.W. Tozer sums it up when he says, “The thing that must really be understood is that our knowledge of God cannot be acquired simply through academic processes. What we really know about God is what He has faithfully revealed to us.” ¹

Lucky occasionally sends me his Sunday sermon messages. I devour them! God is using this man to preach the gospel in Lagos. Below is a recent sermon he sent me. Yes, I edited his “speech” a little—with his permission—to make it more readable to my blog followers. I hope you enjoy it, and as you read it, look for the main point. The main point is the essence of our walk with our triune God.

Patti Greene

  1. God will never allow spiritual growth if we do not manage our lives correctly. So instead of praying for something from God, we should pray for the spirit to handle our sin, guide us into His truth, and be responsible for what He has given us. God will not allow you to have something you have prayed for if you cannot manage them.
  2. God created men and women to worship Him—as God. He required a manager to manage what He made. Note that whatever you mismanage, God will not allow that area of your life to grow—until you can handle it.
  3. If we ask people why God created man, they usually say, “It is to worship God.” Correct, but we must worship Him with the right motives, the right desire, and glorify Him because He is God.
  4. Whatever you mismanage, you will most likely lose. Whatever is under your care, work diligently to protect and care for it. God cannot give you what you pray for if you do not manage what He has already given to you well. He can only provide you what you can handle. You pray for a new house. But God looks down on the apartment you have and sees it is not well-kept or clean. So, He says, “No! You have not managed the apartment I gave you, so you may not have a house.” He only gives you what you proved you could manage.
  5. Some people might get jealous of your ministry. They may not understand what is going on behind the scenes and making your ministry grow and flourish. If you do not manage your church or church assignments correctly, you may lose them, just like if you mangle your body, you might lose part of your arm, leg, or health. If you mess up your relationships, you might lose them. If you mishandle your children, it is possible to lose them. If you blow your money or bungle your business, you could lose them.
  6. To my pastor friends, I say, “So stop crying, Pastor. Don’t say, ‘I don’t know what’s happening to me. Life does not give you what you deserve but for what you fight for. Start reading Philippians 4:6.”

Ask. Seek, Find

My dear friends, the only way we can defeat the enemy we face is to pray. We must appreciate and tell the people that God has blessed us in one way or another.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7 NASB).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED MADAM,

I hope you liked my sermon and have extracted something from this message.

In God’s Grace,

Lucky

Bible Verse:

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:23-24).

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, I come to You today lifting my heart to You. I desire to work and serve You diligently. Please take away all my ungodly motives, my wicked spirit, and any desire to be “seen” for my works. Make me desire to live a life pleasing to You in grace, love, and humility. Remind me that my purpose in life is to understand the revealed truths You give me through Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

¹ Tozer, A.W. Delighting in God: True and Absolute Freedom is Found only in the Presence of God. New Delhi: General Press, 2020.

Verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Subscribe: Joining by subscription ensures you will receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

Transformation Should Be the Result of Worship

Transformation and Worship

 

Transformation is defined as a change—a metamorphosis. When we truly worship, we involve balancing our minds, emotions, our and will. We submit ourselves to God because He is worthy. Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 both explain how we can be transformed in our everyday life.

 

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

 

         Transformation involves worshiping God because He is worthy, He commands us to worship Him, and it should lead to our change. But it involves much more as we strive to worship God in spirit and truth.

 

Defining Transformation

 

Transformation means being changed on the inside, not just on the surface. If we switch to be more like the world, we are masquerading. We have the choice of whether to be a conformer or a transformer. God wants our lives to be transformed into the image of Jesus. 

First, we should give our bodies in holy service to Him. Second, since we are made in God’s image, we have our mind, which involves our intellect, emotions, and will. Our goal should be to think like Jesus does by understanding how false philosophy and Satan operate. We should be before the Lord daily in prayer, Bible study, listening to sermons, songs, and being quiet in meditation before the Lord. Third, we should not base our attitude on our feelings, but on the Holy Spirit—orienting our lives to say, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

When transformation occurs, we radiate the glory of God. People see Christ living in us. God’s spirit will be upon our hearts. We become more and more like Jesus as we allow ourselves to be transformed and desire God to be everything in our lives. A transformer’s values are different than those of most other people.

Spectator or Participant

 

Unfortunately, some believers are not interested in transforming their lives. They are comfortable with how they are even as they sit in the pews, week after week as an observer. They are conformers, not transformers. A vast majority of people want to be spectators and not participants.

 

Respected Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says that a renewed mind is happy to hear God’s word from whatever source it is available. A transformer does not have a “celebrity attitude.” According to Wiersbe, transformers worship, pray, sow seeds and trust God to do His work, whereas a conformer runs from seminar to seminar seeking new techniques, latest fads, and other quick fixes. A transformer’s goal is to become more Christlike in character and conduct. Wiersbe says, “God’s call to real worship, to an experience of transformation, is a call to dangerous and costly living.”

 

Tidbits

 

Extra tidbits regarding transformation are:

 

– The word of God should transform everyone: pastors, leaders, and laypeople.

– Transformation involves prayer, church attendance or gatherings, Bible study, meditation, and more.

– When believers present themselves as living sacrifices, transformation happens.

– A transformer hungers and thirsts for more of God. And worship is NOT a chore for him.

 

Defining Worship

 

Wiersbe talks about how we have a problem with defining worship (and transformation.) He says it is difficult to do, but there are people in the Bible that we see worshiping God. There are multiple words in the Bible for worshipping God.

 

One of the most used words is Shachah, which means “to bow down and do homage” in Hebrew. In Greek, Proskneo means “showing reverence to God.” While there is true worship and false worship, we must remember that genuine, authentic worship is “an adventure with the Spirit.” William Temple defines worship as “the submission of all our nature to God.”

 

In defining worship, we must consider that true worship is balanced and involves our mind, emotions, and will. It is when we can feel Jesus’ presence and experience Shekinah’s glory. It is when God’s Spirit touches ours. God is the object and focus of our worship. Wiersbe defines worship as “our human response to God’s initiative and our response to God’s love for us.” Worship is an ongoing thing—not to be confined to one day a week. Worship is when we experience a transformation in our souls. To do that, we must communicate with Him daily.

 

Bible Verses: In text

 

Prayer:

Oh Lord, let me be more like You. Increase my desire to become closer to You–I want to see my life from Your perspective. I want to rest in Your holy presence. Jesus, thank you for loving me. Transform me into Your image, to do Your work, as I seek Your Shekinah glory in my life. In Your Name. Amen.

God Bless.

 Edited by E. Johnson

 

Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004.

 

Bible verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible.

Subscribe: Joining by subscription ensures you will receive an email every time a new blog is posted. You can subscribe to the Greene Pastures blog site in the right-hand corner. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

Sacred Snippet: Tootsie Pops

I love how God can take the simple things in life and turn them into a blessing.

This morning I stopped at CVS with the intent to purchase only some computer paper. However, I decided to check out the candy row to see if they had a bag of Tootsie Pops. I had searched two other stores previously to no avail. Lo and behold, I discovered CVS had my favorite low-calorie candy—three points per pop for those who know what I mean! ¹

As mostly what happens to us all, we go into a store with good intents and come out with more. I even added some colorful Post-it Page Markers to my other two items. As I left the drug store, I hit the red light under Houston’s Katy Freeway. There I saw a young man. His legs were so skinny—like they were diseased. All I had to give him was a Tootsie Pop. I cannot say I was extremely generous by giving him the entire bag, but I wanted to give him something sweet to eat. I wrestled opening the bag; finally, I had to use my teeth to open the bag. Not cool, but I was afraid the light was going to turn green.

Once the bag was open, I reached in and started to pull out an orange and red pop, but then stopped. It was like the Lord said, “Give him your best.” God knew that red and orange were not my favorites, but chocolate and purple were. So, I quickly reached in, opened my window, and gave him a chocolate and purple Tootsie Pop. It might not seem like a big sacrifice, but when you understand the last two bags of Tootsie Pops I bought had no purples in them, you can understand my “sacrifice” a little better.

Now, here is the best part. I handed this young man the two pops. He saw them and gave me a big old grin through his crooked yellow teeth, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “thank you.” Yes, it was a small gesture on my part, but it started me out on the right foot and started his day out with a little sweetness too!

Hannah: A Biblical Character of Worship

Hannah’s Dedication

In Chapters 1 and 2 of 1 Samuel, a touching story expresses Hannah’s complete dedication toward God. Elkanah was the husband of two women—Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was barren. Every year when the two women accompanied their husbands to the temple to worship and sacrifice, Hannah would weep because Peninnah would provoke her due to her having no children. Being oppressed in spirit one year, Hannah prayed and wept bitterly and made a vow that if the Lord gave her a son, she would let Him have the child for service. The priest Eli heard her prayer. He mocked her and accused her of being intoxicated. However, when he saw that she was afflicted and not drunk, he said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17). In due time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son which she and Elkanah named Samuel. Hannah said, “For this boy, I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the LORD” (1 Sam. 1:27-28). After weaning him, they brought the boy to Eli to serve in the house of the Lord.

Hannah’s Distress

In this Bible story, we see that Hannah was distressed. She prayed, cried out to the LORD, made a vow, listened to what Eli told her, trusted God, conceived, had a son, and remembered her vow to give her first child to the Lord for service by bringing him to Eli. Hannah started by worshiping the LORD in the temple, but we see it more profoundly after she dedicated Samuel to serve.

In her beautiful Song of Thanksgiving and Worship, we read:

My heart exults in the LORD,

My horn is exalted in the LORD,

My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,

Because I rejoice in Thy salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD,

Indeed, there is no one besides Thee,

Nor is there any rock like our God (1 Sam. 2:1-2).

Hannah’s Worship

Because worship is unique to every individual, Hannah’s worship experience was not like Abraham, Jacob, Isaiah, or Mary of Bethany. However, we see Hannah using elements from each of them in her worship of the LORD, as stated in Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground by Warren Wiersbe. For example, she conversed with God (like Abraham), she made a vow (like Jacob), she heard Eli speak (like Isaiah listened to the angels), and she gave her best to the LORD—Samuel (like Mary of Bethany gave perfume). ¹ Furthermore, she trusted in the promise of God when Eli said. “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam. 1:17).

There are multiple reasons we know she worshiped God. First, she approached the LORD with an honest and sincere heart. Second, she had a focused purpose in communicating her desire to God. Third, she waited for God with a humble attitude; we see that by Hannah’s initial deep cries in the house of God that worship filled her heart even before her prayer of thanksgiving.  Fourth, Hannah centered her life on God and His power by pouring her entire being to the LORD. Hannah’s ultimate blessing included her transformation from a barren woman to a child-bearing mother. After she conceived and weaned Samuel, her worship prayer included:

-An exalted heart,

-A mouth speaking boldly against enemies,

-A rejoicing in her salvation, and

-An acknowledgment that there is no one besides God.

Our Experiences

In today’s context, Christians can worship as Hannah did. Many times, when people experience trauma and distress, they give up on the LORD. They are not patient enough to wait on Him to work. Being impatient can diminish confidence in the Holy Spirit leading one’s life. However, every believer who yearns to empty himself of sin and live for Christ can worship like Hannah. We must continually train our church congregants to know what to do at all stages of their lives. We might not be going to the temple to worship, but we can go to church. We might not be experiencing barrenness, but we are experiencing something. We might not get our prayers answered as Hannah did, but we can trust that God knows the big picture of our lives, and He knows what He is doing.

Prayer:

O, dear heavenly Father, may my life seek Your will. May I feel at home with You enough to share both my distress and hearts’ desires? I seek Your wisdom. I give my life to You. Let me do all that is honorable in Your sight now and for the rest of my life. In Your name—the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bible Verses:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Matthew 6:24)

Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker (Psalm 95:6)

For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

¹Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. p. 82.

Bible verses come from The New American Standard Bible.

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Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

Change the Way You Walk and Worship

One thing I can say with confidence is that traveling with God far outweighs traveling without Him. We are on a journey through life deciding whether to walk with Him or without Him. In Genesis through Revelation, God is working to get His people to yearn for an intimate walk with Him. The primary way to accomplish His purpose in our lives is through Christ-centered worship.

In Psalm 84:2, King David wrote, “My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for you to the living God.” True worship is giving our undivided devotion to God. Nevertheless, how do we do that?

First, we must give God complete priority in our lives. When we give Him our heart and soul in pure love, genuine worship prevails. Worship is not just singing in a choir, being on a worship team, or even listening to Christian music. Even Bible knowledge does not always connect us with the worthiness of God. Being in the presence of God daily, desiring to follow our Lord and Savior in all areas of our life cultivates true worship.

Second, we ought to worship the Lord not for what He can do for us, but for what we can do for Him. He gave His life for us to live honorably, dedicating our service to Him. Once we accept His offer of salvation, we can worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Author Warren Wiersbe defines worship as involving “wonder, witness, warfare, and wisdom.” ³

Of course, Satan does not want us to worship the King. He will try to disrupt our worship by allowing sin, distractions, evil thoughts, and more to enter our lives.  However, through Jesus, we can fight this warfare with God’s strength and power working through us.

I am a firm believer in both personal and corporate worship. Personal worship includes praying, Bible study, and a quiet time with the Lord. Every person’s modus operandi is different. For example, one might worship through music, pouring out adoration upon the Lord in prayer and Bible reading, while another person might sing while walking through a wooded area, then proceed into prayer with our heavenly Father. No matter how we worship, our actions, behaviors, and thought patterns affect our efforts—maybe through a divine appointment, a service opportunity, or a deeper walk with Him. Our unique personalities and gifts from the Holy Spirit will mark how we worship. Moreover, we cannot leave out the importance of corporate worship—worship in our Christian community. It is there where we will find means to unite with the congregation in spirit, Bible study, song, and sermons, for encouragement or conviction.

A.W. Tozer applicably states,

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” ²

Benefits abound when true worship washes over our spirit, mind, and soul. God may choose to bless us by providing us with incredible opportunities to use our spiritual gifts, a deeper faith, assurance of His will, the holy expectancy of living a life worthy of honor as His child, and more.

There may be broad and varying opinions as to the final goal in worship. However, worship’s crucial goal is to transform our mind, as stated by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 NASB). ¹

A verse worth memorizing!

Bible Verses: Within Text

Prayer: My gracious heavenly Father, I love You more than anything. Let me experience pure worship, both in my personal and corporate worship. Let my life be honorable to You in all I do. Show me my weaknesses and where I need to repent to be a better witness and soul-winner for You and Your Kingdom. Again, I love You. Thank You, Lord. Amen!

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited 

¹ Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. Rev. ed. Chattanooga: AMG, 2008.

²Tozer, A.W., “20 Timeless Worship Quotes by A.W. Tozer. Renewing worship, accessed January 27, 2021. www.renewingworshipnc.org/quotes-by-tozer.

³ Warren, Wiersbe. Review excerpt on the book cover. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004).

Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

Click here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=patti+greene&ref=nb_sb_noss

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