Week 44 Saturday

Plain Talk

Today’s scripture selection: James 4-5

Key verse: James 4:7

I love the New Testament book of James.  Why?  Because James doesn’t beat around the bush – he tells it like it is.

In just a few short chapters he covers a lot of territory:

  • How to handle trials in life
  • The difference between listening and doing
  • The evil of favoritism
  • How to keep control over your own tongue
  • The nature of wisdom
  • And what holy submission is all about.

Here’s what he has to say about that – again, in characteristic no-nonsense terms:

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

According to James, it’s about making some very important choices.

There’s not a lot of discussion about what constitutes right and wrong behavior – or even if there is such a thing – in a relativistic society.

There’s not a lot of wiggle room allowed; where we debate the finer points of philosophy or politics or religion.

There’s no long treatise about the origin and nature of evil and whether or not evil can be personified.

There’s just the choice: submit to God – or not.  Resist the devil – or not.

And let the chips fall where they may.  Scratch that – where they most definitely will.

Sometimes, life seems very complicated.  At other times, somebody like James comes along and reminds us that some choices, though not easy, are clearly defined.

It’s plain talk – for real, spiritually mature people.

And – if heeded – it can save your life.

Prayer: Lord, help me to embrace the opportunities you give so often; that of holy submission to your will.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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