The Source of Conflict

Reading Time: 7 Minutes As I consider the conflict that seems to be a daily part of life in 2020, I can identify with the Psalm writer who wanted to escape what was going on. He wrote: And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove!    I would fly away and be at rest; truly, […]

Wisdom from God

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Today, we are taking a second look at James 3.13-18, because there is no way to capture the insights of James in this passage with one blog article. Today, we explore the wisdom from above or God’s wisdom. James 3.13-18 – Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your […]

“Wisdom” from Below

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The entire Book of James can be organized around the verses that we are studying today and tomorrow. We can seek to obtain the understanding that results in wise attitudes and conduct either from God or from our own best thinking. Each of the major topics in James can be classified […]

How to Tame the Tongue

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Getting Control of the Tongue Have you ever tried to put James’ teaching to be slow to speak or to bridle your tongue into action? Maybe, you are like me and you have resolved to curb your tongue, only to fail and fail, again. It’s really hard to control our speech, […]

An Important Announcement

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The message of the third chapter of James is desperately needed at this time in world history. From the moment the Holy Spirit inspired these words, they have been wise teaching. Today, they are both wise and needed. James introduces the subject of our speech in chapter 1. He exhorts his […]

The Great Debate

Reading Time: 7 Minutes I wish I had a dollar for every time someone wanted to justify their behavior with a theoretical argument. After listening for a while, I have been known to say, “So, you’re really asking me how far you can get away from God and still go to heaven?” My question usually […]

Faith without Works

Reading Time: 8 Minutes A short history of James, the brother of Jesus James was Jesus’ brother. The book he wrote was possibly the first of all of the 27 books in the New Testament to be written. In the mid-first century, James and Peter were the most prominent voices of the church in Jerusalem. […]

Learning from Jesus

Reading Time: 7 Minutes I frequently reflect on the words of Jesus, when he said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. […]

The Royal Law of Love

Reading Time: 7 Minutes James 2.8-9 – If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. In the early 1970s there was only AM […]

A Good News, Bad News Story

Reading Time: 6 Minutes James 2.5-7 – Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress […]

Church As It Ought To Be

Reading Time: 6 Minutes James 2.1-4 – My brothers and sisters, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in […]

HOW: Honesty, Openness, Work

Reading Time: 8 Minutes James 1.26-27 – If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by […]

It Works if You Work It

Reading Time: 8 Minutes James 1.22-25 – But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget […]

Quick to Hear, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger

Reading Time: 8 Minutes James 1.19-21 – Know this, my beloved brothers and sisters: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which […]

The Giver of Good Gifts

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Meeting the Giver of Good Gifts In his book, “Steps and Stories,” Sandy Beach relates how his sponsor introduced him to God. The dialogue is so much fun and insightful, I am including it in this article with a few changes to help the flow of the story. Sponsor: OK, now […]

How to Overcome Temptation

Reading Time: 9 Minutes James 1.12-15 – Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted […]

Rich Man, Poor Man

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The three verses we are going to study today are short and conveniently easy to overlook. However, they pack a life-transforming “punch,” if we begin to live by their wisdom. As we read them, let’s remember that the preceding verses in James counsel us to pray for God’s wisdom. Is it […]

God’s Wisdom During a Pandemic

Reading Time: 7 Minutes As we celebrated the beginning of 2020, few people in the world imagined that a pandemic would kill nearly 400,000 people worldwide and 87,000 in the U.S.A. No one imagined that America’s strong economy would approach Great Depression Era levels of unemployment in a matter of weeks. Yet, that is what […]

Asking God for Wisdom

Reading Time: 7 Minutes James 1.5-8 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven […]

Making Sense Out of Trials

Reading Time: 8 Minutes James, the Lord’s brother, wrote this letter to churches that were outside of the territory of Israel, sometime before 50 AD. He opened his letter with these words, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:Greetings” (James 1.1) His first theme was […]

Failure and Restoration

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Nobody likes being told that they are going to be a failure, especially by your best friend. Yet, this is what Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. […]

More Resurrection Appearances

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 20.19-23 – On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them […]

The Resurrection of Jesus

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 20.1-9 – Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom […]

Service During a Crisis

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 19.38-42 – After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier […]

The Crucified God

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The title of this article comes from a book by Jurgen Moltmann. I read this book in the 1970s and was captured by Moltmann’s story as much as by the content of the book. Moltmann was in the German air force, during World War II. As a young man in his […]

How did you begin your day today?

Reading Time: 7 Minutes On Good Friday, I occasionally compare my day to what Jesus was experiencing on the day when we went to the cross for our sins. As we read today’s Bible passage, try comparing it to one of your customary days. John 19.1-11 – Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 […]

On Trial with Jesus (Part 2)

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Reflections on my experience Yesterday, I asked us to put ourselves on trial, in an attempt to better understand Jesus’ wondrous gift to us of his trial and execution for our sins. As I prayed through the questions, I tried to get a mental image of Jesus after the trials before […]

On Trial with Jesus (Part 1)

Reading Time: 8 Minutes I’d like to take a different approach to the trial of Jesus than the one customarily presented. There are facts, such as Annas being the “retired” high priest, but still having authority. There is the clear gross injustice, that allows our heavenly Father to feel with all injustice in the world. […]

A Story of Two Garden Experiences

Reading Time: 7 Minutes John 18.1-2 – After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. […]

God’s Unfathomable Gift

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Once again, the best way to dig deep in this this profound prayer is to pray the prayer of Jesus with him. At the end of each section, I will provide a suggested prayer. God’s Offer of Unity John 17.20-21 – “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also […]

A Patient Meditation on Jesus’ Prayer

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Unpacking Jesus’ Prayer Jesus’ prayer has several themes that are packed tightly into a small space. It is as if the entire message of the Gospel of John is squeezed into the few verses of John 17. To best appreciate what Jesus prayed, we are going to re-visit the first five […]

A Meditation on Jesus’ Prayer

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 17.1-5 – After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given […]

A Lesson in Humility

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 16.25-33 – “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to […]

Jesus’ Help for Depression

The source of depression and of joy John 16.16-22 – “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no […]

The Nature of Evil

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 16.1-4 – “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because […]

The World and God

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 15.18-25 – “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the […]

“I Call You Friends”

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Update on a walk with Jesus In yesterday’s article I wrote about taking a walk with Jesus to better appreciate his words, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15.9). I would really like for readers of real-voices.com to take a walk […]

Abiding with Jesus

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 15.1-5 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word […]

Love and the Holy Spirit

Reading Time: 9 Minutes John 14.15-24 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. […]

How to do the Works of Jesus

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 14.7-14 – If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this […]

The Way, The Truth and The Life

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 14.1-3 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go […]

What is Really Important?

Reading Time: 7 Minutes What kind of glory is important to God? John 13.31-33 – When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify […]

Betrayal and Denial

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Betrayal John 13.21-30 – After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples — the one whom Jesus loved — was […]

This is Why We Worship God

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Severian of Gabala (around 400 AD) expressed awe at the love of God, that was displayed by Jesus. As we read his words, let’ remember that to see Jesus in action is also to see God. “He who wraps the heavens in clouds, wraps around himself a towel.He who pours the […]

Jesus’ Last Words to the Public

Reading Time: 8 Minutes John 12.44-50 – Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in […]

Failure to See

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Alcoholics Anonymous may help us understand a difficult Bible passage. Sandy Beach recounts the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous in a very interesting book, “Steps and Stories.” In the 1920s there was a millionaire who a member of a very wealthy family. His name was Rowland Hazard and he was slated to […]