Warning to the Rich
1Listen all you who are rich, for it’s time to weep and howl over the misery that will overtake you! 2Your riches lie rotting, your fine clothing eaten by moths, 3and your gold and silver are corroded as a witness against you. You have hoarded up treasure for the last days but it will become a fire to burn your flesh. 4Listen! Can’t you hear the cries of the laborers over the wages you fraudulently held back from those who worked for you? The cries for justice of those you’ve cheated have reached the ears of the Lord of armies!
5You have indulged yourselves with every luxury and pleasure this world offers, but you’re only stuffing your heart full for a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered good and innocent people who had no power to defend themselves.
7Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, we must be patient and filled with expectation as we wait for the appearing of the Lord. Think about the farmer who has to patiently wait for the earth’s harvest as it ripens because of the early and latter rains. 8So you also, keep your hopes high and be patient, for the presence of the Lord is drawing closer. 9Since each of you are part of God’s family never complain or grumble about each other so that judgment will not come on you, for the true Judge is near and very ready to appear!
10My brothers and sisters, take the prophets as your mentors. They have prophesied in the name of the Lord and it brought them great sufferings, yet they patiently endured. 11We honor them as our heroes because they remained faithful even while enduring great sufferings. And you have heard of all that Job went through and we can now see that the Lord ultimately treated him with wonderful kindness, revealing how tenderhearted he really is!
12Above all we must be those who never need to verify our speech as truthful by swearing by the heavens or the earth or any other oath. But instead we must be so full of integrity that our “Yes” or “No” is convincing enough and we do not stumble into hypocrisy.
Prayer for the Sick
13Are there any believers in your fellowship suffering great hardship and distress? Encourage them to pray! Are there happy, cheerful ones among you? Encourage them to sing out their praises! 14Are there any sick among you? Then ask the elders of the church to come and pray over the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of our Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will heal the sick and the Lord will raise them up, and if they have committed sins they will be forgiven.
16Confess and acknowledge how you have offended one another and then pray for one another to be instantly healed, for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!
17Elijah was a man with human frailties, just like all of us, but he prayed and received supernatural answers. He actually shut the heavens over the land so there would be no rain for three and a half years! 18Then he prayed again and the skies opened up over the land so that the rain came again and produced the harvest.
19Finally, as members of God’s beloved family, we must go after the one who wanders from the truth and bring him back. 20For the one who restores the sinning believer back to God from the error of his way, gives back to his soul life from the dead, and covers over countless sins by their demonstration of love!