strength in faith
Week 47 is scheduled for study Nov. 13-19, 2023. There is power in patience, strength in faith, Godly maturity in learning to control our tongue, and blessings in giving and receiving blessings.

Day 1

As you read the Epistle of James, pay attention to phrases that stand out to you. How are you prompted to be a “doer” of these words? (James 1:22).

James 1:2-4; 5:7-11 – Patient endurance leads to perfection.

When it comes to reading the scriptures, I have to remind myself of two things. The first is that a great deal of time and distance is between those who wrote them and myself. The second thing is that since language evolves and changes over time, sometimes the word used in the scriptures doesn’t necessarily mean what it means today. In our first set of verses today we have a possibility of three substitution. One substitution comes from Joseph Smith, another is a Greek difference, and the third is me remembering that the word perfect means complete or whole. Here are the verses as in the scriptures, followed by my substitutions in my effort to better understand the written word.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.


My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into many afflictions;

Knowing this, that the approval of your faith through trial worketh patience.

But let patience have her complete work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I was sitting and contemplating these verses in an effort to understand how patience in our earthly trials has the chance to change us for the better, and something occurred to me. You may find this article to be useful in your contemplations – Where Is the Greatness in Small Things? I believe that most of what God does in the ordering and maintaining of the universe is done at a microscopic level. He commands something to be done then waits for it to happen. Like the example I use of the development of hoar frost in the article, great things come to pass by very small changes on a massive scale. The Lord is patient. Patience is a virtue He has in abundance, because He doesn’t live in time. There is no time limit for Him to get things done. He can easily wait for as long as it takes for the small things to create great wonders (refer back to the article in blue).

We, on the other hand, live in a temporary world, so everything feels rushed, for we all have deadlines to meet before we run out of time. Learning to use our experiences to develop the kind of patience God has is difficult. That kind of patience requires faith in God. I mean that we have to choose to believe that Christ will accept our faith in him and will forgive us, teach us, strengthen us, and whatever more we need done to and for us, but all in his own time. Our faith comes into play when we recognize that we are not in control of the timing of the changes we want to have happen, but we are still willing to be obedient and hope that we remain faithful until Christ affects the needed and desired changes in our life.

This is what the scripture means in verse 3 when it says that the the approval of our faith through the trials we face is what creates within us patience in Christ’s timing. When we let God do His own thing in His own way and time, and remain obedient during this whole process, this is what completes our development of patience and strengthens our faith in Christ. Eventually our faith, our ability to continue on and endure any trial becomes whole, complete, or perfect – all because we have learned to trust in Christ and his intentions and plans for us. He is willing to perfect us, but becoming whole or complete takes time, and we need to develop the patience required to continue in obedience until his changes have taken place and we see the results.

Day 2

As you read the Epistle of James, pay attention to phrases that stand out to you. How are you prompted to be a “doer” of these words? (James 1:22).

James 1:3-8, 21-25; 2:14-26; 4:17 – Faith requires action.

Belief is stagnant. It is just a choice we make. Nothing has to be done for belief to exist. But faith cannot exist in the vacuum of inaction. Faith is an action word, it requires action to even exist. When we choose to believe something that comes from God then choose to live by that belief we have exercised faith. Faith simply requires us to do something about what we have chosen to believe.

We can’t say we have faith in God then hedge our bet by worshipping idols (just in case). Faith would require us to put away our idols, because we have chosen to devote our energy and efforts into serving the God we believe will be able to save us from ourselves. It is faith because the action required to be committed to something truthful creates meaningful changes in our life. Putting action into worshipping idols will create no such change, for they are not alive and cannot do anything for us.

No belief in anything that is good will bring us happiness, unless that belief is followed up with the action that activates happiness. Righteous living of God’s commandments creates happiness. That is their byproduct. That is what they are there for, to create within us peace and happiness. All of God’s commandments are laws of happiness.

Note: Just to clarify something, let me say that in chapter 2 when James uses the words “work” and “faith” he means faith and belief. He cannot be saying that faith is without work, so we need to change the word “faith” into belief and the word “work” into faith. Read chapter 2 with these word changes and it will make a lot more sense. This confusion is largely responsible for people thinking that faith and belief are the same thing. They are not.

Day 3

As you read the Epistle of James, pay attention to phrases that stand out to you. How are you prompted to be a “doer” of these words? (James 1:22).

James 1:26; 3:1-18 – The words I speak have the power to hurt or bless others.

Have you noticed that God never has to apologize for speaking out of turn or in anger, or even by mistake? God has learned to speak only when He needs to speak, and then He says what needs to be said, and it is always in a manner filled with love and concern for the other person. God does not waste His words or speak frivolously. Much of the harm done during our time in mortality comes from people saying what they should have kept to themselves, or sharing what was not theirs to share, speaking rashly or with ill intent, or even just speaking with careless abandon. This is why James tells us that we need to learn to bridle our tongue.

Have you noticed that God’s power is not in His physical prowess or strength? His power is in His words. He speaks and the elements obey. Can you think of any kind of power greater than just speaking and having the universe fulfill your bidding? If anyone understands the power of words it is God. Our challenge in life is to learn to speak with more understanding that all words have an effect, whether for good or ill. If we are not careful with what we say, when we say it, and how we say it, we can cause harm instead of happiness and joy. What we hoped in conveying peace may become a message of sorrow.

Truly, learning to control our words makes a big difference to us as well as to all those who hear or read our words. God sees the end from the beginning, so He always knows the effect His words will have. We can’t see afar off, so there will always be times when our words won’t have the desired good effect we had hoped for. We must all learn to be close to the Spirit. His influence in our life will help us become better judges of what to say, when to say it, and how to do so in as loving a manner as we can muster. We won’t be perfect, but we will learn over time to heal more wounds than we create with what comes out of our mouth.

Day 4

As you read the Epistle of James, pay attention to phrases that stand out to you. How are you prompted to be a “doer” of these words? (James 1:22).

James 2:1-9 – As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I should love all people, regardless of their circumstances.

First off, be sure to read these verses and replace what is in the KJV with the JST. It will make a lot more sense when you read today’s assignment with the JST.

The counsel James is giving us today is difficult for us to accomplish. We live in a highly shallow world, one filled with those who live for the accolades of others, who desire little more than the praise and glory others can bestow upon them, and who wish to feel important in the eyes of others. Social media is a breeding ground for promoting those who are not truly worthy of being promoted. Many gain popularity and fame, if not money, by doing the ridiculous or dangerous, demonstrating the excessive, or by putting on a façade that fools the masses into liking what they do and into giving them respect they might not deserve. This is not Christ’s way.

Christ teaches us to love the unlovable, to accept the person on the fringe, even when they have questionable behavior or present themselves in ways that are outside of the normal behavior and conduct acceptable by most of society. Christ loves the person who comes to church. What they are wearing, how they are adorned, smell, or what they act like is of secondary concern. The fact that they are present to worship God is what is important. We cannot learn to love another if we are not first willing to appreciate them as a child of God. We must always acknowledge each person’s innate worth, without any attachment to what we see on the outside.

When we see someone who is dressed in expensive clothing or who acts important, all we know is that they were either born into money, have acquired money, or who wish to be important in someone’s life. Their true worth is the same as the beggar off the street. Both are children of God and have the same value in His eyes.

Learning to look past what society requires of polite company or for how they expect the wealthy or famous to be treated can be difficult for us. We just weren’t taught to do that from the time we were children. If we do it we become like Christ, one who is criticized for associating with the outcasts of society or who is accused of not being polite society ourselves because no deference for the wealthy and famous in society was shown. Being Christlike in our behavior can put us in the same boat it put Jesus in. I can think of worse things than to be like Jesus. 😉

FHE/Personal Study

James 5:14-16 – Blessings

Today you are getting this pot calling you, my fellow kettle, black. I am as guilty of neglecting this part of our relationship with God as the next person. As a whole, the Church has lost much in our pursuit to heal by cutting the Lord out of the equation. He tells us in today’s verses that we are to get blessings when we are sick. Do we do it? Well, I suppose we do, but often only if the person is afraid of dying. Read the verses below. Does it say anything or imply anything about not asking for a blessing unless you are dying?

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

When these verses were penned people generally didn’t go see a doctor. Many never saw one in their life. In today’s societies most of us see a doctor several times a year. It is common practice that if you get sick you immediately make an appointment with a doctor so you can get some medicine prescribed to help you feel better. How does “call for the elders of the church” fit into this practice? It actually cuts out our practice of calling on the priesthood, giving preference to those who have been to medical school over those who need to exercise their priesthood power.

For those of us who have priesthood callings, exercising the priesthood by giving blessings can be a scary thing, because one’s personal faith and ability to receive revelation is on display where everyone can see it. So many brethren prefer people go see a doctor rather than to brave possible embarrassment with a loved one. Getting well doesn’t have to be just one or the other. We can go to the doctor as well as asking for a blessing. Modern medicine does have its uses, as do the virtues of using the priesthood in your home.

When it comes to giving blessings we need to remember that the good done through a priesthood blessing is achieved as much from the faith of the person asking as from the faith of the giver of the blessing. Did you notice that little bit at the end of verse 15 where the Lord promises that if someone asks for a blessing the Lord will forgive their sins? Do you think some of that forgiveness might also be shared with the giver of such blessings?


Everything in the gospel of Christ points us to becoming unified in some way. Giving and receiving blessings is a very private and personal thing. The sick person is exposing themself as being in need of help, and the person giving the blessing often feels like they are spiritually on trial, or at least on open display. Either way it can be intimidating to ask for or to give a blessing.

For those who have asked for blessings and received wonderful answers and promises from the Lord, what does such blessings do for your opinion of the priesthood holder who gave those blessings? Do you trust them more? Do you have greater respect for them than before? If it was you who gave the blessing do you have greater gratitude for what was wrought under your hands through the blessings that were given? Have you learned a little better how the Spirit speaks to you, and how to listen a little better to His whisperings than before? I’m not seeing a downside in any part of this process.

Those who receive blessings are personally loved and attended to by God, because they exercised faith in His power to heal them. Those who are willing to expose themselves to the situation of giving a blessing learn that they aren’t so weak or lost to the Spirit that He can’t help them perform their duty to bless others.

Blessings are, in my opinion, not asked for often enough. And for those who ask all the time, we might need to remember that if that is how often they feel a need to receive a blessing at the hands of the Lord’s servants, who are we to decide they don’t deserve that much love? Blessings bring a unity that is very intimate and binding. I know that I trust the revelatory abilities of very few people when it comes to seeking a blessing, but sometimes I just need to remember that my faith needs to be in God, not so much as in the person giving the blessing. God can communicate through almost anyone who gives the blessing, if the one receiving it is exercising their faith that God loves them and wants them to find happiness and peace from what ails them.

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NT47-2023 – Be Ye Doers of the Word