The message, with smiley faces I taped to each bag of chocolate chip cookies, was simple. It stated that the little bag of cookies was a reminder that Jesus loves them along with this verse, “...the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). I included our names and phone number for prayer. My husband and teenage son passed out dozens of bags to people standing in the lines for assistance all over our city.
A few weeks later this message was on our home answering machine, “I found a bag with your phone number on the floor of a hotel here in New Orleans. I checked into this hotel to commit suicide. I had forgotten that Jesus loved me until I read the message on your bag. I am going to find Jesus again and go on with life, but I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t found your message. I just want to thank you.”
In James chapter 2, the connection between faith and actions is clear. James mentioned that both Abraham and Rahab were considered righteous by God because of their faith and actions. Abraham’s faith and actions worked together when he willingly brought his son Isaac to the altar, “His actions made his faith complete” (Jas. 2:22). Rahab’s faith and actions worked together when she hid the Israelite spies in Jericho (Jas. 2:25). The results of the faith and actions of Abraham and Rahab were amazing, too. Not only did Abraham become the father of the entire Jewish people, but he was also considered a friend of God. Not only was Rahab and her entire household saved when the walls of Jericho fell, but she was mentioned in the lineage of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:5.
Faith and action work together as James explains,“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24). True faith ignites a passion for action. Those actions are the fruit of our faith. I consider my act of faith small when compared to the size of the need by the hurricane victims, but it was done for God’s glory. God is the one who orchestrated the amazing result. Honestly, we may never see the results of acting on our faith that does not mean the results were any less amazing.
Let your faith ignite your passion for action. Acting on my faith had an amazing result. Do what God drops into your heart to do. It could be as big as starting a business or moving to another country as a missionary. It could be unimpressively ordinary like stopping to talk to someone who crosses your path. It could be helpful like babysitting or planting flowers. It could be baking chocolate chip cookies. No action that is done for God’s glory is too small. After all, faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains!
Memory Verse: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Much to my utter dismay, the teacher held up my garment for the class to see as an example of how terribly crooked a zipper could be, if not sewn properly. I’m mortified to say the teacher didn’t stop there. On the front of my garment was an admittedly poor attempt at sewing trim on the center seam. Oh, my! I’d love to say that I, too, sewed flawlessly like my Mom, but I was a poor imitation of the original seamstress.
God is truly “The Original.” He wanted Egyptians and Israelites to know “that I am the Lord” (Exod. 7:17). He wanted them all to witness the powerful works of His hands and acknowledge that only He was God. To accomplish this, God caused several plagues in Egypt before the Israelites were freed from their bonds of slavery.
When Moses and his brother Aaron first approached Pharaoh, God told Aaron to throw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and it would become a serpent. Pharaoh’s magicians imitated this and their staffs became serpents. Since God is “The Original,” Aaron’s staff swallowed up all of their poor imitations (Exod. 7:9-12).
However, the imitations of “The Original” continued:
“This is the finger of God” (Exod. 8:19), the magicians told Pharaoh. After that, God brought plagues of flies, death to livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness (Exod. 8:20-10:23). Never again does it say that Pharaoh’s magicians even tried to imitate the plagues that God brought to the land of Egypt. Indeed, by the time the Israelites left Egypt it was clear to all that God delivered them with His power and might. Egyptians and Israelites alike acknowledged that God is “The Original.”
Where there is an original of value, there is often a flawed imitation; only God is “The Original.”
Satan watched God perform marvelous works countless times, but Satan’s imitation of “The Original'' is flawed and ineffective. Just as Pharaoh’s magicians imitated God, people today do the same thing. An author may slip a Bible verse or two into an otherwise worldly book or podcast or blog as an imitation of “The Original;” a speaker may skillfully scatter godly phrases in a speech to camouflage an otherwise sinful message. Cults spring up that have some of the truth of God’s Word, but instead are imitations. We must diligently use our spiritual radar to determine the difference.
Even our imitation of “The Original” is just that. Though doing our best to imitate Him is certainly scriptural (Eph. 5:1), only God is “The Original.” He is the “Alpha and Omega … the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13). He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is perfect in all of His ways. Beware of imitations: only “The Original” deserves our worship, praise, and loyalty. So, as we imitate Christ, be certain to point others to “The Original,” the only One with the unique ability to transform their lives.
Memory Verse: “No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Alexa Gearhart Angi Morrison Anna Bearden Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes