Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 14, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: James 5:12-20 (NKJV)
5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
The focus of the Church is the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ crucified. People forget this sometimes. They focus on personalities, entertainment, activities, institutions, works, fights, spectacles, etc. But our Lord teaches us that we are to focus on His Word, His commands, and His Gospel. All the other things must serve the focus of the Gospel, not replace it.
The work of helping and comforting those who have various needs is an important part of our vocation as Christ’s people, but when we do it we should remember the words of St. James. Our prayers and our works should be guided by the Lord’s will, and His will is to save souls from the death of their sins. Sometimes the sick will get better, other times they will not. Sometimes suffering will pass, sometimes it will get worse. In all things our words and deeds should be focused on the “yes” and “no” of God’s teachings.
However, we all know this is easier said than done. Thanks be to God for His Spirit, which gives us faith and strength to do things according to His will. Even more than that, we also give Him thanks for the forgiveness that He shows toward us when we fail to stay focused on His Word and will.
Prayer: O God, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee, mercifully grant that Thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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