Journeying through James, 2:17-20 – Works Change Lives

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? James 2:17‑20 (NLT)

I am really glad that we’ve decided to build a new fellowship hall. Now is the time to pray and think about how God will use it. Naturally, that made me think about good works. I started doing online devotions from James when the COVID pandemic started, and next few verses of James, that I am going to focus on, are about good works.

James is writing to people who are confused about the importance of good works. To help get that point across he refers to the demons. Why? What do they have to do with understanding how faith and good works go together?

The point is this: works change lives. That’s a fact. This is what God wants you to know. The demons know this. That’s why they work so hard at what they do. Their efforts lead countless people away from Jesus Christ. They are organized and work hard.

Every good thing you do, kind word, helpful deed can change someone’s life. That’s a powerful and simple truth. Maybe you’ve been praying for something or someone for a long time and you don’t see any good results. Your prayers, for example, don’t seem to be working. At other times, choosing to forgive, being kind, or being helpful can be really hard to do.

We’re not able to see how God is working in all of these situations, but He is. And by faith, Jesus wants you to see that your life can have a greater purpose. It is hard, because people might not recognize the good works that you do, but God does. He’s given us reason to hope that our good works can change lives.

We don’t have to cower and fear like the demons do. Christ has died for our sins and he has given us back our lives to live for him. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV).

What all this means is that God wants us to be the type of people who are concerned about what sin and the demons seek to destroy. Ask the Lord to show you what he has given you to do. Ask the Lord how you can be an example of his love. It’s awesome that the Lord asks us to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We’re not able to see how God can use the good works we do. That’s for him to know. We are to know that what we do can change lives.

Wee Disciples Preschool

Wee Disciples Preschool celebrated the end of the 2020-21 school year with a Moving Up and On Celebration on May 20, 2021. The students sang some of their favorite Bible Time songs from the school year for their families. It was a great end to a fantastic year of preschool.

May 20, 2021

Wee Disciples Preschool

Moving Up and On Celebration

Special Voters’ Assembly

Dear members of Trinity,

A special voters’ assembly meeting will be held next Sunday, April 25, 2021 in the Trinity church sanctuary after the late service, which will begin at 12:15 PM, subject to the sanctuary being ready for the meeting.

The agenda will be limited to the consideration of a mortgage application and resolution regarding the construction of a new fellowship hall and other improvements. A copy of the mortgage application and draft resolution are attached.

If you would like to attend IN-PERSON, you will be asked to sign-in when you arrive before the meeting so that we take attendance.

Or, if you prefer to attend ONLINE (live streaming via Zoom), you can register in advance for the meeting by clicking here:

After submitting the registration form you will receive a confirmation email with the link for joining the meeting online. If you have questions about how to use Zoom to attend online, please call Trinity’s office at (217) 367-8923.

Whether you attend IN-PERSON or ONLINE through live streaming, you will be able to participate during the meeting and to vote. Please pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit as we make our decisions during the Special Voters’ Assembly meeting.

Grace and peace,

Rick Winkel, President

Let’s Seek Him, Hosea 6:3

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. 3 Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea 6:1‑3 (NIV)

Let’s take a look at these words of Hosea’s prophecy. The section in particular is just verse 3 from Hosea 6:1-3.

It says, “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

In the Hebrew text, the word that is translated “let us acknowledge” is used very seldom in the Hebrew Old Testament. It harkens to an expression that Jesus said a number of times in the Gospels. He told us “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew7:8; see also Matthew 6:33, Luke 11:9-10, Luke 12:31, John 5:44).

As dependable as the sunrise is in the morning and the seasons changing year after year, is the Lord willingness to come to us and share the good knowledge of His love and care and glory that he has for his people. What the Lord is encouraging us to do, even from Old Testament times, is to seek him; search for him and the text adds the words “press on or pursue.”

These are words of great passion and give us an idea, not that the Lord is difficult to find or that He is hiding himself from us, but He wants us to passionately, with all our heart acknowledge His presence and good hope for us in Christ.

You see, this is the hope and acknowledgement that is hidden from the hearts and minds of unbelievers. It is however the strength, the song and the eternal hope of those that follow Jesus Christ, our precious Lord and Savior.

For it was Christ himself who said, “I am the door” (John 10:9). Since we have such an open door to enter God’s loving presence, should we not ask all the more for anything and everything (e.g. John 14:13-14)? And lastly, should we not all the more ask the Holy Spirit to remind us (Luke 11:13, Romans 8:14) of the access that we have to our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 4:16); not to mention, to remind us constantly of how much God wants to enrich our joy in Him! (Luke 12:32-34)

For further study related to this: Look up and meditate on how your everyday life can be an expression of Ephesians 3:14–21, finding your satisfaction in experiencing and sharing Jesus!

Go Boldly to God’s Throne

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15‑16 (NIV)

Go boldly to God’s Throne. What a privilege Jesus has won for us. We have immediate access to God He gave Himself as a living sacrifice so we can draw near to the throne of God with bold confidence. He made it possible to for us to have a personal relation with our Heavenly Father! We are His dearly loved children because Christ has taken away that which separated us—our sin. We come as children through the open door. Our God is ready to lavish His mercy and grace upon us. Rather than focusing on our frailties and unworthiness, let us look to Jesus who is our High Priest that understands our weaknesses. He was tempted just as we are, but He chose not to sin. He was the Lamb of God without spot or blemish and in His present-day ministry He makes intercession for us. The Holy Spirit gives us understanding and assures us that Jesus Himself is our access into the presence of the Father Jesus is our confidence and we speak to our Father without reservation. In His presence, we can speak openly and be honest with ourselves and with Him without fear of judgement. There we accept His mercy to help us in times of distress, and accept His grace to overcome temptation.

Journeying through James, 2:18 – Keep the lights On

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:18 (NLT)

When we lived in Sierra Leone, one of the things that was very different was living without electricity. The oddest thing was that the town we lived in had electrical lines; the infrastructure was there. We had fixtures and lights built into our house. Technically, we did have lights, even though they never shined. This helps me understand what James is talking about when he says, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

It was rare in the town we lived in, but when the electricity came on, it empowered us to be able to do many good things. Picture your good deeds as lightbulbs shining. Jesus taught, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV).

My prayer is that God would graciously empower us to shine with the love of Christ. In other words, it’s great to have the lights, but it’s really obvious and a blessing when they are powered on.