Steve Amato - James Rap
© copyright 1997, Steve Amato
A Christian should be joyful if he finds
He faces many trials of different kinds.
Endure through trials, they'll make you new.
Endurance itself will become a part of you.
And if, in fact, you do endure
You'll find that you become more mature
And if you don't know what to do.
Just ask God, He'll answer you.
But ask believing without doubt.
For surely God can figure it out.
He who doubts is like a wave of the sea
Blown and tossed by the wind he must be.
Don't think he will receive from the Lord.
Double-minded, unstable, full of discord.
The humble brother ought to take pride
For in a high position he does abide.
The rich should also take pride, you know,
Because his position is really low.
Like a wild flower that passes away
So he will fade from the scene and his riches decay.
Those who endure through trials and don't fall down
Will in the end receive a crown.
When tempted noone should dare to say,
&"God is tempting me&", for there is no way.
God cannot be tempted by sin.
Over Him no evil can ever win.
Nor does He cause you to stray.
So you're not really right in what you say.
We're tempted by our own desires.
We're dragged away into the fire.
After desire does conceive,
It gives birth to sin and so we greive.
And sin when it is full-grown,
Gives birth to death, and so we moan.
My dear brothers, don't be deceived.
Every good gift is from above I perceive.
Coming down from the Father of light
Who doesn't shift from left to right.
He gave us birth through the word of truth,
That we may be a kind of first fruit.
Be slow to speak and quick to hear,
For we have one mouth, but more that one ear.
Be slow to anger, for it never acquires,
The righteous life that God desires.
Moral filth and evil put aside,
And let the word in you abide.
If in meekness this be your goal,
The word will surely save your soul.
Do the word, don't just be a hearer,
Like a man looking into a mirror.
He turns away, and yes he does
Forget what kind of man he was.
But if you look into the word with care,
Not forgetting what you hear,
And doing what it says to you,
You'll be blessed in what you do.
If you think you're a religious man,
Control you're tongue, if you can.
Else I could only say,
You're religion isn't worth the time of day.
Religion that's perfect, God confesses,
Is to help orphan and widows in their distresses,
And to keep oneself from being polluted,
For sin in the world is firmly rooted.
Now if we're brethren in reality,
Then we shouldn't show partiality.
Suppose a man comes into your meeting.
And you welcome him with a friendly greeting,
&"You sit here in a good place.&"
You say with eloquence and grace,
Because with fine apparel he is clothed,
And on his hand, a ring of gold.
Then a poor man comes to you.
And you tell him what to do,
&"You stand there, or sit by my feet.&"
Both men with equality you should treat.
You are judges with evil thoughts,
For though there are people of many sorts,
To treat people different because of money,
Seems to me to be kind of funny.
For God did choose those who are poor,
To be rich in faith, and there's more,
To inherit the kingdom he promised those
Who love the one that arose.
So why insult the poor, I say
The rich exploit you day by day.
If the royal law you fulfill
&"Love you neighbor as yourself&", you do well.
But if you treat some greater or lesser
You're convicted by the law as a transgressor.
For if you keep the whole law,
Bus miss one point, you are guilty of all.
He said don't commit adultery, nor kill.
But if you do only one, you are guilty still.
So speak and act as those who will be
Judged by the law of liberty.
If with mercy we judge sin
Then mercy over judgment will inevitably win.
My dear brothers, what does it gain
If one believes, but only in vain.
For if faith does not affect how he behaves,
I don't really think that kind of faith saves.
If a brother or sister is naked or poor,
And you say &"be warmed and filled&", but do no more.
Just as they profit nothing from what you said,
Faith without works is really dead.
Some say, &"You have faith, I have deeds&"
But don't you think where that leads?
Our faith is revealed by what we do
So if you have faith, you'll have deeds too!
You believe there's one God, you do well.
Even demons believe and tremble in hell.
But don't you know that even God said
That faith without works is really dead.
Was not Abraham by works justified
When on the mountain by God he was tried.
You see his faith and deeds did meet
And by his deeds, his faith was complete.
And so the scripture was fulfilled in what is says,
&"Abraham believed and was reckoned righteousness.&"
And he was called the friend of God.
But with the faith he had, that's not really odd.
Faith that works, that's the kind
that justifies a man, I& find.
That Rahab the harlot was justified
By what she did, can't be denied.
She received the messengers and let them stay
And sent them out another way.
For as the body without the spirit is dead.
So too if faith and actions are not wed.
Not many should presume to teach.
God strictly judges what they preach.
We all in many ways stumble.
If you don't think so, you're just not humble.
The tongue is like a small rudder,
Steers ships through the wind, just like butter,
Or like a bit in a horse's mouth,
You can make him turn either north or south.
It seems it has so much control.
With it we gain and lose our soul.
A forest can burn from a little spark.
So our tongue can make our whole life dark.
All kinds of animals we can tame,
But controlling the tongue is just no game.
But let me tell you something worse,
With it we praise and then we curse.
This is not suppose to be.
Can figs and olives come from the same tree?
You think you're wise and you understand
But maybe you're living in dreamland.
Show me you're works done in humility
Or else you're just talkin vanity.
But if selfish envy fills your heart,
Don't tell it to me nor from the truth depart.
Such wisdom's not from God it's from the devil,
It ends in disorder, it's not on the level.
But the wisdom from above is pure as snow.
It's peaceloving and considerate, don't you know.
Submissive and merciful, full of good fruit,
Impartial, sincere that you can't dispute.
Sow in peace and reap a harvest of right.
Selfish envy will end up without any light.
From where do fights and quarrels come?
From your desires within, are you so dumb?
You murder and covet and cannot get
You lust and do not have, I'll bet.
I'll tell you what you need to do
Just ask God, He'll answer you.
But remember that God will surely measure
Whether you're going to spend it on you pleasure.
Rather ask so as to serve the Lord.
With riches in heaven He will reward.
And don't as much with the world make friends,
Because you know how the story ends.
Don't make God's Spirit jealous.
God opposes the proud, doesn't He tell us.
So if you think you're going to stumble,
Just remember that God gives grace to the humble.
Submit to God, resist the devil.
When he flees from you, in God you'll revel.
Draw near to God and He'll come to you.
Repent from sin and see what God will do.
Grieve and mourn, wail and cry.
Change your laughter to mourn and to joy say &"goodbye&"
And if you do drink from this cup,
The Lord Himself will lift you up.
You know your brothers you should not slander
But let me speak with some candor.
He who speaks evil and judges his brother
Also speaks evil and judges another
He judges the law and speaks against it
But when against the law in judgment you sit
And don't bother doing what it says
You'll have one to judge you, I must confess.
There's only one who who will save and destroy
But when you judge you're brother you do Him annoy.
Now listen you who like to say,
I've got plans for my life, I'll have success some day.
But you don't even know tomorrow
which may, in fact, end in sorrow.
For what is your life? It's only a mist.
It will vanish soon, if you catch my gist.
Instead, this is what you ought to say,
&"If it's God's will, we will venture this way.&"
As it is you brag and boast.
Don't be surprised if you end up like toast.
And if you know what is the good to do,
And don't do it. Well that's sin too.
Now listen you rich, weep and wail.
For as days pass, so your riches fail.
Your wealth has rotted, as I've noted,
Your gold and silver are corroded.
Their corrosion should cause you some concern.
For on judgment day, your flesh will burn.
Be patient my brothers until the Lord come.
As the farmer waits for the land until autumn
To yield its fruit with the spring rains
You too be patient and stand firm through the pains.
For the Lord's coming is really quite near.
So surely you can with each other bear.
Don't grumble against the brothers, not anymore
For the Judge is now standing right at the door.
As an example of faith that stands under trial
Take the prophets who endured for quite a long while.
We count them blessed who have persevered
Despite what they faced and what they feared.
Or consider the story of Job and his foes,
Well I'm sure that you know how that story goes.
The Lord is full of compassion and grace
That's why Job wanted to see him face to face.
Above all my brothers, do not swear
By heaven or earth, or by things here or there.
Let your &"yes&" be yes and your &"no&", no
Or you'll be condemned by what you sow.
Is anyone of you in trouble today?
Take my advice, just let him pray.
Is anyone happy? Let him sing praise.
Is anyone sick? Here's what God says.
Let him call the elders and pray in one accord.
And annoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will make him well
The Lord will raise him up from his sick spell
If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
So confess your sins and let prayer be given.
The prayer of the righteous, from God's perspective,
Is full of power and really effective.
Elijah was a man who like us appeared.
He prayed and it did not rain for over three years.
Again he prayed and then it did rain
And the earth produced both wheat and much grain.
If one of you strays from the truth
Whether he's old or still a youth
And one turns him to the right path
He saves a soul from God's wrath.