November 21 - Seeing the Bigger Picture

By Joanna Zeiner

Today's Scripture: James 5:7-8, 13-16 (NIV)

Central Thought: The bigger picture of faith includes obedience, purity, and patience.

    Once Jean Claude could not see. Now he can see. Once Jean Claude prayed, in the model of the James passage, that God would touch his eyes. Now he leads evangelistic services among his Rwandese countrymen as a sighted man. But he sees on a different level than before.

    By coupling healing with patience, prayer, and confession, James connects us with God's bigger picture. Yes, God desires our healing, and sometimes He meets our physical needs with a single act of grace. But, God also tells us that humans not only are body, but they are soul and spirit as well.

    When Jean Claude approached the elders of his church, they discovered through prayer that God required certain obediences to be observed by Jean Claude and by those who lifted him before the throne. Fastings, confessions of fault toward one another, acts of obedience, patience observed when it seemed God hadn't heard, faith maintained in the assurance that He had.

    God taught these saints a bigger lesson: the way they lived out their relationships with God and one another was as important as claiming God's healing grace. In his body Jean Claude was blind, but now in both body and spirit he can see.

Devotional Prayer: Father, it is much easier to proclaim Your promises than it is to inspect my personal motives, to own and confess my personal faults. Yet, You say that one is as important as the other. Help me come to You with clean hands and a pure heart, that my prayers for others might not be hindered.

Today's Bible Reading: Ezekiel 42:1-43:27; James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16; Proverbs 28:6-7