Message from a Mystery Man

We don't know his identity, but we do learn from his message of some of the best ways to establish and maintain harmony in the family and in life generally. Listen and enjoy!

By Caryl W. Krueger

Categories: Guidance

The message was very well written. The writer was well-educated and intelligent. He understood the history of the time. But just who was he? He might have been James, the brother of Jesus - imagine that! But, he might not have been. The identity of the Mystery Man is intriguing (and there are many theories among Biblical researchers), but that is not the subject here.

Whoever he was, he presented some of the best Biblical advice for family harmony. Who couldn't use a bit more joy in everyday living? So tune in to what the Mystery Man has to say to you and your youngsters. Read the listed citations from the book of James in the King James Version of the Bible, then the commentary, and finally, discuss each topic together.

BE PATIENT. (1:4) In Eugene H. Peterson's "The Message", it says one shouldn't try to get out of things prematurely, challenges are gifts, so be good-natured about events. Stick it out and learn something from it.

CHOOSE THE TRUTH. (1: 5, 6, 8) It can be easy to be double-minded, playing both sides of the question. But the way to go is to be single- minded, accepting God's intelligent truths that will save you from being tossed about in the storms of life.

MONEY IS OVER-RATED. (1:10) Sure, that's easy to say, but the thrill of riches fades quickly as one realizes that there are more important things in life. Money is like a plant without water. What you do is more enduring than what you get.

AVOID TEMPTATIONS. (1:12-16) If you want to be a winner in life (and get the crown as it says here), you must fight bad suggestions for they only lead to more trouble and even death. So hang in there and fight.

GIFTS. (1:17) Sure, we all like ribboned packages, but the best gifts are not wrapped, but readily available from the great-giver, your Father/Mother God: happiness, love, satisfaction, joy, intelligence - you name it, if it is good, it is yours.

WATCH YOUR TONGUE. (1:19) A snappy answer gives a temporary thrill, but the result is eventually shame - sadness over acting like less than God's caring child. So, listen slowly and well, consider how to respond with truth, not trash.

AVOID GARBAGE. (1:21) Call it the modern way of speaking if you wish, but you're just fooling yourself. Save yourself from grief by not letting filth (in actions, books, movies, TV, speech) make you less than what you know you are, deep down (and that's where God always knows you are) -- perfect, honorable, proud.

GET UP OFF YOUR BEHIND. (1:22-25) Don't just talk-the-talk. Get out there and walk-the-walk. Accomplish something for yourself, your family and friends. Reach out to your school and community. Plan your part in saving the world. Someone has to do it, why not you?

GET CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH GOD. (4:8) Draw nigh (near) to God, step by step each day. Make small changes, then larger ones. You are never alone and what a helpful companion you have in every challenge you face.

PRAY! YES YOU! (5:13, 16) If you're in trouble, pray. If you aren't, rejoice in a prayer of gratitude. Prayer does work.

According to church tradition, the author of this book had the nickname of "Old Camel Knees." It seems he built up calluses on his knees from many hours of prayer. While you may not kneel in prayer, do establish daily times of prayer. Consider this good advice from the Mystery Man and take joy in your progress.