Saturday - December 26th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 1:1-11
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
This weekend during our worship services at Calvary, Pastor Brian Howard launches our new sermon series on the Book of James. I am so thankful for Brian, his gift of teaching God's Word, and his willingness to speak each weekend during my recovery from pneumonia. God blesses the Calvary family and me through the humble heart and solid teaching of Pastor Brian. Since my recovery is almost complete, I anticipate preaching again soon.
As I write our daily Take5 devotionals over the next month or two, I will align our thoughts from God's Word with the series on James. This incredible New Testament book provides practical insights for us in what it means to live and love like Jesus. I look forward to growing with you as the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts, minds, and lives through our journey together in James.
The fourth-century church historian, Eusebius, relates a story gathered from the lost works of Hegesippus during the second century about James "the Just." This James likely wrote the New Testament epistle of James and was the earthly brother of Jesus. Regarding the death of James, Eusebius quotes Hegesippus, who lived right after the apostles' generation. "James was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple and was beaten to death with a club."
James was one of the early martyrs of Christianity. He served as the pastor of the first-century church in Jerusalem. Local officials grew frustrated with their inability to stop the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and took out their frustration on "James the Just."
Interestingly, James' martyrdom occurred at a place with which he was incredibly familiar and comfortable. Early church fathers tell stories of how James often prayed in the courts of the Temple in Jerusalem - the same place Jesus often taught. The beautifully ornate but hard surface took its toll on Jerusalem's first pastor. James became known as "Camel Knees." Tradition says that he prayed so often and so long on the Temple's hard tile floor that his knees became hard, knotty, and worn like the knees of a camel.
It is no wonder that a man who prayed for others' needs with such dedication and commitment would be a clear voice for practical Christian living. Prayer bridges the expectations of Heaven for our lives and how we actually live our lives for God. The Book of James gives us insights into how we live for Christ in our world today.
If you are physically able, take a moment to bow down on your knees and pray today. Don't pray with your knees firmly resting on carpet or a pillow. Pray with your knees resting on a hard floor surface. You will quickly get a sense of why it was that James was called "Camel Knees." You can also take the time to pray for the practical needs in your life and the lives of others.
Let the exercise of praying on your knees grow your own prayer life. Maybe you need to build a brief but consistent time of prayer into your life daily. Perhaps you simply need to take a few more minutes to pray. Maybe praying for a week or two on your knees will give your prayer life a fresh boost.
Remember, prayer bridges Heaven's expectations for our lives and how we actually live our lives for God.