QTVOTD: The Steamroller of Wealth…

4 [But] look! [Here are] the wages that you have withheld by fraud from the laborers who have reaped your fields, crying out [for vengeance]; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5 [Here] on earth you have abandoned yourselves to soft (prodigal) living and to [the pleasures of] self-indulgence and self-gratification. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned and have murdered the righteous (innocent man), [while] he offers no resistance to you. James 5:4-6 [AMP]

This continues our passage from yesterday and again want to remind the reader that James is referring to rich non-Christians. What is scary about this passage is how it shows how wealth essentially depraves the un-redeemed mind; promoting inhumane actions and treatment of those who pose no threat to them. When a person treats the downtrodden in this way, James is saying that the Lord hears the cries of those who are oppressed and thrown down. The AMP version says here in verse 5 that the rich person has abandoned who they are in trade for a living of self-indulgence and self-gratification. You might be inclined to develop a dislike and detest people like this, but when I see that ‘abandoned yourselves’, I feel bad and almost pity the person who has chosen this lonely and alone state of life. It is as they have traded all that is available for them for eternity for a short window of pleasure and gratuitousness that does not last but a moment in the grand scheme of their eternal existence.


The potential for shortsightedness is a capability for all of us living under the sun. We can become consumed with our circumstances and situations so much that we lose sight of the ultimate hope and goal which is a promised life of Eternity with the only One that matters…our Lord Jesus Christ. I need to be better about pulling my head up out of the mire of craziness that can sometimes be work or busy-ness and realign my sights on the ultimate prize.

QTVOTD: Woe to the Rich…

​1 COME NOW, you rich [people], weep aloud and lament over the miseries (the woes) that are surely coming upon you.
2 Your abundant wealth has rotted and is ruined, and your [many] garments have become moth-eaten.
3 Your gold and silver are completely rusted through, and their rust will be testimony against you and it will devour your flesh as if it were fire. You have heaped together treasure for the last days. James 5:1-3

To James, the rich people pictured are clearly wealthy landowners, a class accused of economic exploitation and oppression from early times. Based on other writings of James I am pretty sure he is referring to non-Christians in this rebuke. The words James uses (miseries, woes) are traditionally used in the Old Testament in the context of judgment. This background makes clear that the misery that is coming on the rich refers not to earthly suffering, but to the condemnation and punishment that God will dole out to them on the day of judgment.

Additionally, it would be wrong to ignore the fact that ‘the rich’ and ‘the unrighteous’ are so easily connected; Scripture warns us that wealth can be a particularly strong obstacle to Christian discipleship. Jesus said Himself, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a wealthy man to enter the Kingdom of heaven”. In verse 2 James starts to talk about how the accumulation of wealth (things) actually leads to decay of belongings because they pile up unused…one of the worst visions of bad stewardship.

The move to the tarnish and rust being a testimony against the ‘Rich’ is simply because the rich have concentrated on the accumulation of earthly treasure to the exclusion of heavenly treasure; plainly indicating where their ‘heart’ is. Additionally, the wealth accumulated was put to ‘no use’ for the poor who needed it. The ‘devour your flesh as if it were a fire’ is talking about God wrath poured out.


I need to ask myself – “As a Christian, am I falling into sin by withholding God’s resources? Am I being a conduit for God’s resources and not a dam?” I need to walk forward from today looking distinctly at our spending and keeping an open eye to see the people God is putting in my path to help. My focus needs to be ‘riches in heaven’ not ‘riches on earth’. I definitely don’t see myself as a selfish rich person, but I do think that the blessings the Lord has given me in my job and salary can easily create an earthly comfort that keeps me from leaning into God for what I truly need…the Bread of Life.

QTVOTD: Do Not Suppose You Can Determine Tomorrow…

Today I left the PNW and traveled to Raleigh/Durham (RDU) for a weeklong business trip just south of Fort Bragg. I left the house at 6:20AM PST this morning, left SeaTac at 9:40AM, arrived RDU at 6:00PM EST and then drove 1.5 hours to my hotel just south of Fayetteville, NC. I’ll travel back home next Sunday. So, here I am at 12:10AM EST pretty much awake.

Tonight, I am finishing out James 4 with this little passage on our human expectations that tomorrow will always come, that there will always be a sunrise to wake up to. James helps us to put this mindset into a perspective of Eternity and God’s Hand that guides our lives while we are here under the sun.

13 Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money.
14 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].
15 You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing].
16 But as it is, you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self-conceit. All such boasting is wrong.
17 So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:13-17 [AMP]

James is calling out those who think through and plan out their future…wait, we ALL do this! I do this! I have a 5-8 year glidepath I am planning through my work as I read this! This is a natural thought process, right? It is responsible to think through and plan how we are going to set out what is next in our lives, right? Well, James tells us that this is the wrong mindset when we commit to setting out to achieve these plans by our own efforts…what he is trying to say is “you executing this plan may not be what God has for you!” That our hearts can plan but it should be with a countenance that it is God’s decision whether we truly end up fulfilling those plans or not. If we stay too stuck to our plans then 1) we miss what God is wanting to do with us during that time period or 2) we will be fraught with frustration because God is going to do His will in our lives anyway and we will just find our plans constantly at odds with His plan.

James calls this a ‘Boastfulness’, a heart of self-sufficiency that leaves God’s plans out of the planning period. James is just suggesting that our ‘hearts’ be directed toward what God wants to do and even though we may make plans (because we are not God), we need to have a heart that understands that our best laid plans may need to adapt to God’s plan for us as we see Him revealing those plans through His hand and actions in our lives. James leaves us with the person who lays out their plans and then when God shows them a different direction, they intentionally choose the direction that was established in their plan…this is sin!


Today I need to start living this way! Pray before I plan and in my heart of prayer, make it clear to the Lord that I WANT His plan for my life; however, in the vacuum of this unknowingness, I will responsibly plan but with a full deliberate request for God’s wisdom in my planning (with the belief that my plan will be His plan) or have a keen ear of listening to God when He is changing up my plan and free willingness (if not pursuit) to follow where He is leading.

QTVOTD: When We Don’t Obey the Law, We Question the Authority of the Law…

11 [My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].
12 One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor? James 4:11-12 [AMP]

I am pretty sure that this passage is primarily talking about the kind of inner-church debates that too often degenerate into name-calling and even the questioning of one another’s Christian convictions. James’ justification for his prohibition is interesting -> to speak against or to judge one’s brother or sister is to speak against or to judge the law. The law to which James refers, in light of his usage of the word elsewhere in the letter, is the Old Testament law.

16 You shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among your people, nor shall you [secure yourself by false testimony or by silence and] endanger the life of your neighbor. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:16 [AMP]

How is it that ‘judging’ a fellow believer involves sitting in judgment on this law? Since James contrasts ‘judging the law’ with keeping the law, he apparently thinks that failure to ‘do the law’ involves an implicit denial of the law’s authority. However high and orthodox our view of God’s law might be, a failure actually to do it says to the world that we do not in fact put much respect to it.

For verse 12 I am going to copy the commentary I read on this topic. I don’t want to take credit for my learning on this one.

Speaking evil of fellow-Christians is wrong not only because it involves ‘judging the law’; it is wrong also because it involves ‘judging the neighbor’. And this critical, condemnatory judgment involves both disobedience of the demand that we love the neighbour and an arrogant presumption on the rights of God himself. For he is the one Lawgiver and Judge who alone has the right to determine the eternal fate of his creatures (cf. also Matt. 10:28). Yet when we criticize and condemn others, we are in fact pronouncing our own verdict over their spiritual destiny.

Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: James (2015)

QTVOTD: Brokenness Must Join Repentance…

8b [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].
9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins].
10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. James 4:8-10 [AMP]

This passage comes directly after “Come close to God and He will come close to you…” What really hit me was that this ‘Brokenness’ is an aspect of ‘coming close to God’. I read this book called “Brokenness: The Heart God Revives” and it is so applicable to this passage today. The book primarily talks about the fact that in many cases Brokenness is the start of revival, and it is infectious when it happens. The book recalls a conference that the Author attended where the primary speaker came up on the opening keynote and poured out their confession of sin, guilt/shame they were carrying, and literally wept in front of all of these people in their grief over disappointing their Lord and Savior. What happened next was that person after person came up on stage in front of the mic and did the same thing regarding their sin. The conference organizers were obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and let the confessions go on and essentially canceled the rest of the planned content. Can you imagine? So, that is the mindset I am drawn to in this passage today. What do I have as unconfessed/unrepentant sin that I need to be in recognition of, to grieve, and to be somber over how what I have done has drawn me away from God.

QTVOTD: Tit for Tat..,

Great down day today after Thanksgiving. Went and got our Christmas Tree at Dairyland Farms with Marianne’s parents. It was a nice restful day.

James 4:8
Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].

Tomorrow I will dive more into the ‘lamenting’ our sinful ways but today I just want to dwell on “Come close to God and He will come close to you”. What I love most is that it is a ‘this’ for a ‘that’ statement. If I do, He WILL. How comforting is that?!? In my faith, as I work to draw close to my Lord and Savior, He will come close to me. Coming close to God comes through a focused deliberate move into His Word, into a committed prayer life. I am doing this and God is drawing near and I already feel it. This thanksgiving was a wonderful time thinking on all He has done for me and my family.

QTVOTD: A Thankful Heart…

Today has already been a day of preparation; getting ready for our guests as we celebrate through Thanksgiving.

Today I spent time pouring over several verses on ‘Thanksgiving’ to set in the attitude for the rest of the day.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 [ESV]
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 [ESV]
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chronicles 16:34 [ESV]

As the head of my household, I feel responsible for reminding my friends and family who will be joining us tonight, what the real reason is for this day as we eat and fellowship with one another. God in His goodness and mercy has seen fit to put us right here where we are, in this place in time, to be a light in the darkness, and salt to the earth. Our world with it secular worldview, is not tolerant of a God-based mindset and faith. However, we are called to live for God alone and in doing so, through obedience to His Word, will show how God can change the human heart. How to push the focus from ‘Self’ to be applied to those around us as we are called to serve.

I am reminded of the 2 greatest commandments:

  1. Love the Lord your God with all of your Soul, Mind, and Strength.
  2. Love/Serve your neighbor as you would want to be loved/served.

Today is a day to be thankful for Who God is and the providence and sovereignty He wields as an all-powerful God. It is also a day of prayer; praying that the Holy Spirit would make us aware of His movement around us so that He is able to grow our faith and keep our eyes set on what He does…not what we do and how what we do is seen by others. We should Fear God and only think about what we can do to glorify Him in every aspect of our life here under the sun.

QTVOTD: Be Subject…

Day before Thanksgiving and will have a busy day. Also, today I need to finish my trimester self-performance review where I look back on what I accomplished at work, what I plan to do going forward, and development areas I have identified for myself. As a manager, I look forward to the task of filling the manager portion out for my employees. My time in prayer here just before this time reflecting on this one verse, I was overwhelmed with the gratitude I have for not only my Savior, but also for all that God has given me; in my health, my friends, my family, my job, and my home. I literally have nothing to complain about.

So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. James 4:7 [AMP]

One small verse today that packs soooooo much punch. The biggest takeaway from the verse is the ‘Order’.

  1. Be ‘Subject’ to God
  2. Resist the devil


This really just another way of saying be humble and fear God. Whenever you see ‘fear God’ the type of fear that is being referenced is usually a fear of disappointment/disapproval. This whole passage starting here in verse 7 reflects back on Proverbs.

34 Though He [God] scoffs at the scoffers and scorns the scorners, yet He gives His undeserved favor to the low [in rank], the humble, and the afflicted. Proverbs 3:34 [AMP]

God gives His grace (unmerited goodness and favor) to those who are humble. So, when I see this ‘Be Subject’ it is calling me to disown my self-sufficiency. To lean directly into the cloak of my Father in Heaven for all of my needs, comfort, worth, and safety. Here on the earth (under the sun), it is hard to do this with all of the distractions this world throws at us. The ruler of that world is…the devil. James says that when I am subject to God I then need to resist the devil.

Resist the devil

The devil is, above all, the ‘tempter’ (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5), seeking always to separate God and human beings. We as Christians must resist this separation. When we do, James promises that the devil will flee from us. Whatever power satan may have, we can be absolutely certain that we have been given the ability to overcome that power.

Additionally, I think this being subject to God means that we are prayerfully living our life immersed in His Word to understand Him better. As we understand God better, His character and His commands, we can better identify the devil to resist him and the separation he sets out to achieve.


Continue to be in God’s Word every day. Hide God’s Word in my heart and meditate on it throughout each day. Actively resist the devil. Be watchful and not lulled by the world’s opinion on eternal matters.

QTVOTD: God Gives What He Demands…

My first ‘real’ day off from work for this week and it was so nice to just relax…and bake bread. My father in-law really likes the homemade bread, so I kicked up my sourdough starter a little over a week ago in prep. I baked 2 loaves today and have another batch ‘bulk rising’ as I type this. Tomorrow is Turkey dinner prep day, and I am so excited to have the crew over and enjoy a good meal; being grateful for all the Lord has done for us this year.

5 Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love?
6 But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). James 4:5-6 [AMP]

These two verses warrant a quick speed bump to address. They are some of the most widely debated in terms of interpretation in James’ letter. It is not clear where in the Old Testament (Scripture) James is referring to but the leading interpretation (Thank you Tyndale Commentary) of the second part of verse 5 is -> God jealously longs for the spirit/Spirit he has caused to dwell in us. In other words…God wants our full heart (all of who we are) and He jealously (positive) want to be the only focus. Afterall, He is the one Who put His Holy Spirit in us when we came to Salvation through our belief in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

God has a claim on us by virtue of His work in our lives. Our God is ‘a consuming fire’ and His demands on us may seem terrifying. But our God is also merciful, gracious, all-loving, and willingly supplies all that we need to meet his all-encompassing demands. God’s gift of sustaining grace can be received only by those willing to admit their need and accept the gift. The proud, on the other hand, meet only resistance from God.

Application: I stand to receive all that I can possibly receive from God by giving my ‘whole self’ to Him. Not only that but my whole family will stand to be beneficiaries of the goodness that comes when I surrender all that I am to the Creator. God demands everything but just as verse 6 says -> God gives what He demands; meaning that He will help me achieve in giving what He asks of me…BUT! It takes my willing humble spirit otherwise God will set Himself against my proud heart.

QTVOTD: Worldly or Heavenly Impact?

Last night the in-laws flew in and are staying with us for a week. So thankful to have them here for Thanksgiving!

3 [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
4 You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. James 4:3-4 [AMP]

Remember, yesterday we covered James 4:1&2 which is a narrative on there being strife in the world because people are jealous and covet what other people have; when people’s desires go unfulfilled, there is due to be conflict because a sinful heart has no way (other than God) to redeem itself and set it apart. The end of verse 2 completes this thought with “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

So here in verse 3, the scholars who provided us the Amplified interpretation preface with “or”. This is where we start today.

James teaches us that even when we do ask God for something, we do so to fulfill a personal desire rather than to choose to operate under God’s desires. In these cases, God is likely to deny us the request. We can’t fool God and we can’t con Him into believing we are asking for something for righteous reasons when we’re not. Verse 4 goes further to compare this person (the one asking for something with the wrong reasons and ultimately to fulfill our own desires) to an adulterer or adulteress, breaking our marriage vow to God Himself.

Then James lays down a big one -> “Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy?”. Ouch!! He then repeats it against saying that whoever chooses to be a friend to the world SETS HIMSELF as an enemy of God!

Application: What are my motives when I ask God for something…or even when I ask Him for wisdom in making a decision for something (like a new car or house)? Are those motives structured around an impact here on earth or a Heavenly Kingdom impact?