Friday, September 30, 2016


I Peter 1:24 As the prophet says, "People are like grass that dies away; their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of wildflowers. The grass withers, and the flowers fall away. But the word of the Lord will last forever."

We discover two essentials truths here we must grasp: the brevity of life and the length of eternal life. We act like life on earth will last forever. We ignore the signs of aging. We continue to pursue earthly gain as long as we are able. We do our best to stay as young and productive as possible. We keep relying on the wisdom of the world which promises us longer and richer lives. We struggle with aging naturally.

We also ignore eternal life. We dismiss from our thoughts that there is life after death that will never end. We don't want to think about it too much lest we take it too seriously. We stay focused on life as we know it and fail to grasp fully what awaits us in eternity.

We also tend to forget that what God has given to us in His Word is eternal truth. It is as true and applicable for us today as much as it was for the people to whom it was given, and it will always be relevant to people who follow us. God never changes His Word. It is for all people of all time. We tend to devalue its worth to us because it was written so long ago. We must reconsider our thinking. God is still speaking to us through His Word and we must listen to it and obey it.

Listen, you are getting older and will die. Life goes by so quickly! Don't waste it away by chasing after things that don't last. Don't believe Satan's lie about the worth of earthly pursuits. God's Word is the only thing that is time proof. What comes out of God's mouth is eternal. It alone is worth giving our lives for.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I Peter 1:22 Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.

I wonder what would be different in our churches if we were to take today's verse to heart. Just how intensely do we really love each other? Are we as concerned and involved in each other's lives as we ought to be? What do we do to show our love? Love without action is only a word. Love compels us to take an invested interest in people. It compels us to respond to needs when we learn of them. It compels us to withhold judgment on others unless it is clearly directed by Scripture to do so. It compels us to see the good in others and dwell on it instead of the weaknesses people have. Love is not a convenience, it is the fruit of a heart that is right with God.

If we truly love others, we will befriend them and stand by their side as they endeavor to grow in faith. We will accept others without strings attached. We will work together for the cause of Christ and not let our own agendas get in the way. This is true within our individual churches, and it is true in the body of Christ as a whole.

We can't make people love each other intensely from the depth of their hearts. Most people don't and won't get it. But, what about you? Just because others don't love as they should, it doesn't excuse us. The mandate to love is clear in the Scriptures. We can make a huge difference for Christ by setting a godly example of loving for others to follow. To do anything less, is to live in disobedience to God.

Our capacity to love is directly related to our relationship with Christ. To not live a life of love is to not live in a proper relationship with Christ.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


I Peter 1:17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as foreigners here on earth.

I do not believe very many people believe this is true, at least that is the way they come across. We tend to think of ourselves in a better light than others. We measure our worth by our successes or who we know. We tend to think that we earn brownie points with God because of what we do. However, Peter reminds us that God shows no favoritism when He judges the heart of man.

Everyone will be judged according to how he lives out what he professes. What we do with Christ matters with God. How well we live in Christ determines whether or not we will be rewarded by God. If we are not living in Christ like we should be, then we will be judged accordingly. No one will be accepted by God into His Kingdom by what he does in comparison to anyone else. He will be accepted by God only if He lives well in Christ.

A person who lives well in Christ has a reverent fear of God. He honors and respects who God is. He takes holiness seriously in his life. He honors God as the absolute authority over his life. He honors God by how he approaches God in worship and prayer. He keeps God as his first love and lives always for Christ. Keeping his soul fit for heaven is his number one priority in life.

God does not play favorites. He holds everyone equally responsible for holy living in Christ. Anyone who doesn't live a holy life will be judged as unfit for the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I Peter 1:14-16 Obey God because you are his children. Don't slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God---who chose you to be his children---is holy. For he himself has said, "You must be holy, because I am holy."

For the most part, the church has either forgotten or ignored these verses. We like our faith to not be messy. We don't want to get down to the nitty gritty task of cleaning up our messes. We want the benefits of faith, but not the demands of faith. We excuse ourselves when we sin because we are in grace and not the law. We admit our guilt, but don't let it bother us too much. We change just enough to get by, with little interest in pursuing the deeper walk of faith known as holiness.

Yet, God commands it. He doesn't give us an option in this. He is our Father and He demands our obedience. We can't get around this truth. As His children, we are not allowed to continue in our sinful ways. We are commanded to be holy, just as He is holy. This means that we purposely strive to not sin. It means we seek after the things of God as a way of life. It means we identify that which is sinful in us and deal with it before God. It means we identify what is sinful to us and strive to avoid them.

Being holy takes work. It does not come naturally to us. It is the fruit of maturing faith. It is the goal of faith, but it has no end. Holiness is achievable only in degrees. We can always become more holy. God is holy and therefore to be holy is to be more like God. We cannot become like God to the degree He is holy, but we must certainly continuously become more holy.

How are you doing? Does holiness characterize your life? Are you at peace with how much like God you are becoming? Or, are you a mess that needs to be cleaned up? If you are holy, you will desire and strive to resist sinning. You will seek first the holiness and righteousness of Christ in your life.

Monday, September 26, 2016


I Peter 1:14 Obey God because you are his children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil, you didn’t know any better then.

As a child of God, obedience is not an option; it’s a necessity. No one who claims allegiance to Christ can live in disobedience to Him. We do not disrespect those whom we love and disobedience is disrespect for God.

It is easy to slip back into our old sinful ways. Let’s be honest about it. It is easier to sin than it is to obey. Satan knows our weaknesses and he is a master at exploiting them. It takes a great amount of effort and patience to stop doing the things we once did. For most of us, changed behavior is a process. We normally don’t just stop doing the things we once did. There are no instant disciples of Christ. Many of us struggle a long time with sinful issues in our lives. It is easy to get frustrated and cave into sinful habits when we find ourselves failing. And I might add, often our sinful habits change as time goes on. When we gain victory over one area of our lives, another area pops up to do battle with us. It doesn’t end until we die.

What we need to remind ourselves of is that perseverance is the key. It is okay to not be perfect, but it is not okay to not try. Each time we fall into sin, we confess our sin, accept Christ’s forgiveness, and strive to do better the next time. We learn to recognize over time how to avoid situations that cause us to sin. We learn to recognize when we are growing weak and need to renew our strength in Christ. We learn how to lean on Christ and not ourselves. We learn how to keep our souls strong through the spiritual disciplines of faith.

Living obediently to Christ and His Word is not an easy task, but it is doable. If we have the attitude of determination, we will do it. The more we learn from God what is sinful, the more responsibility we accept for doing that which is sin. Victory in Jesus is certain for those who learn how to overcome through Him who gives us the strength and desire to do it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


I Peter 1:13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ.

Thinking clearly requires investing time and energy into getting to know God's ways. It means that we value highly God's instruction and guidance. It means that we value highly our relationship with the Lord. Having a right attitude towards God and His ways does not just happen. It is not something that we can categorize and do when we want to. It is the way we live. It is involving the Lord in all we do.

Thinking clearly about our relationship with God is not an option; it's an absolute necessity if we are going to please Him. Far too many people who claim fellowship with God do not have a clear mind when it comes to understanding what it means to live in relationship with Him. God commands our best efforts at holy living. He is never pleased with the leftovers. He does not accept anything other than being the number one priority of our lives.

When we think clearly about our souls, we will exercise self-control. We won't fall prey to our sinful desires. We will be able to say no to sin as it tries to weasel itself into our hearts and minds. We will learn the secret to successful living in Christ.

The Lord rewards greatly those who know how to think clearly and exercise self-control in their lives.

Are you thinking clearly about spiritual things? Do you exercise consistent self-control over sin in your life?

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I Peter 1:6 So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.

When we live in the moment without a vision for the future, we can easily be overcome and fall into discouragement and despair. Sometimes life isn't pleasant. Circumstances in life around us change and often not for the best. We often struggle due to things we have no say or control over. People sometimes take out their own frustrations and problems on us. We sometimes struggle to keep our heads above water and see no end in sight.

When all we can see is the moment, our will to keep trying ebbs away. It seems pointless to fight through the trials we go through. We don't like life's difficulties and look for ways to make things easier, escaping anyway we can. We may even deny their reality, hoping somehow they will not come our way. Yet, we all face them.

The Lord knows how difficult life can be and that is why He instructs us to look beyond the moments of our lives. He knows that what is ahead of us is worth whatever we may be facing at the moment. There is a wonderful joy ahead of us that we can only imagine now. We can't begin to know the glory of what He is preparing for us. We can't even begin to imagine what it will be like to have a face-to-face encounter with our Lord which will never end. There is a wonderful joy ahead of us as we live in a place where there is no more sin, pain, or suffering.

Jesus and His kingdom awaits us! Life may be tough now, but for those who persevere there is joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Whatever you may be going through in life, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus--the author and finisher of our salvation--and your heart will be filled with joy as you anticipate what lies ahead of you. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

Friday, September 23, 2016


James 5:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back again, you can be sure that the one who brings that person back will save that sinner from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

There is nothing more sad and tragic than to see a brother or sister in Christ wander away from Him into sin. It doesn’t just happen. Slipping into sin is a process that begins with compromise. By neglecting time with the Lord we can be easily be misled and start to compromise on that which we know to be true. Whenever we lower God’s standards to accommodate our desires, we begin to wander from God. Sin breeds sin so when we start compromising, we tend to cover-up what we are doing by lying about it. We lie to ourselves, God and others. The longer the process goes on, the farther away from God we drift. He who does not stand guard over his soul and nourishes it is an easy target for sin.

It is tragic when a fellow believer falls into sin and no one does anything about it. Far too many of us don’t want to get involved. We don’t want to lose friendship or stir up trouble. It is easier to "mind your own business" than it is to show loving concern and care for he who sins and wanders from God. Who can claim to love others when there isn’t enough love for others to get involved when they fall into sin? Coming alongside of those who have wandered from God and lovingly leading them back to Him will certainly help them be restored to God and save them from certain destruction.

There is no greater joy than to be a part of God’s restoration project on earth. Someone you know needs you to take his/her hand and gently lead them back to our Savior. The Lord is depending on you to do it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


James 5:17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years!

One of the things we so often fail to remember is that every one of the men and women of the Scriptures were human, just as we are. No matter how godly they were or how much they were used by God, they were human. They knew the same emotions we do. They had the same good days and bad days we do. They had fears and doubts just like we do. They had problems just like we do. They stumbled and fell just like we do. Yet, God used many of them in miraculous ways. Why them and not us? While there is no way we can know for sure, I believe there are some things that we can say.

These people were people of faith. They did not always get it right, but they believed God, trusted Him, and allowed themselves to be used by Him. They did not have all the knowledge about God that we do, yet they believed God and did marvelous things for God. We can do the same as they did. We cannot be who they were, but we can be used of God like they were.

God uses those who are faithful and submissive to Him. When we put the Lord first in our lives, God honors us and uses us for His glory. Are you fully surrendered to the Lord? Are you in a position to be used by God? Are you investing your life in Christ's life? Are you feeding your soul with His Word? Are you in constant fellowship with Him in prayer? If you do these things, just like Elijah of old, God will use you in mighty ways.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

When was the last time you confessed your sins to another believer? It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Now I am not advocating confessing our sins to others for their forgiveness (unless of course we have sinned against them and need their forgiveness); only Christ can forgive us and make us right with God. However, there is great value in opening up to another about sin in our hearts.

Confession gets things out in the open. It forces us to admit that we are sinners. It makes us accountable for our sins and responsible for doing something about them. It humbles us as we no longer are able to be who we appear to be but are not. It also gives us hope as we realize we are not alone in our struggles, that we all fail from time to time. I believe this is one of the reasons why altars are still an important part of a church’s life.

Confession is good for the soul and so is praying for one another. The goal of all confession is a restoration of the soul with God. There is no way that a heart can be right with God apart from prayer. There is great comfort in knowing that we are being prayed for. We need to be in continuous prayer for one another so that we may have pure hearts before God.

Don’t minimize the importance of prayer when it comes to dealing with sin. The sincere prayers of a righteous person are very effective. They are powerful for they move the heart of God to act and the result is wonderful to behold. When needy people are prayed for by righteous people great things begin to happen.

If you are struggling with sin issues, find someone who you can trust with your heart and confide in them. Let them come alongside of you, pray with you, and help guide you through the Scriptures as you deal with your sins. Then, pour out your soul before Christ and you will be forgiven and find the peace of soul that eludes you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


James 5:14-15 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.

When was the last time the church prayed over you for healing? Most churches have gotten away from this practice. I wonder why. There is something very powerful and personally affirming when the church prays over a soul for healing. Just knowing that others care and are interceeding on one's behalf bolsters one's faith. It is an awesome way to strengthen faith and bind the body of Christ together.

Does God always answer prayers for healing? Certainly not in the way we want Him to. Our desire is that the sickness will go away and that the body and mind would be whole and "normal" once again. Sometimes the Lord grants us our prayers and at other times He answers prayers in other ways. Sometimes He brings healing over a period of time. Sometimes death is the way He makes a soul's body whole once again.

Our responsibility is to join together in prayer. We pray in faith believing in what the Lord will do and leave the rest to Him. When we pray in the will of God we must always submit to His workings with gratitude. Our Father knows best how to deal with a person's sickness. He knows best how it will work out for the good and bring Him the glory He alone deserves.

Doctors and medical people are important and we should never neglect going to them, but we should always bring the Lord into the mix. We should ask the elders of the church to anoint us with oil and the Lord promises to hear our prayers and answer them.

Monday, September 19, 2016


James 5:13 Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to God.

Suffering is not a pleasant thing to go through or live with. We don’t like it because it causes us pain. It prevents us from being free to enjoy life, or so we think. I believe it would be beneficial to look at suffering from a different perspective.

Suffering, no matter the cause or pain, can be good for us if it causes us to turn to God more. It is good to draw strength for our suffering from Christ. It is good to go through suffering if it helps to build up stronger and more effective faith in us. It is good for us if it causes us to admit our helplessness to make it go away. When we endure suffering it should drive us to our knees. The Lord may or may not make the suffering go away, but when we pray we get all that we need to handle our sufferings. If you don’t like your sufferings, pray. If you don’t understand why you have to suffer, pray. If you find no help medically, pray. If no one understands your sufferings, pray. If no one comes alongside you to help you, pray.

If you are blessed to not have to suffer, pray and give thanks to the Lord and praise Him for His graciousness. Praise Him while you don’t have to suffer and you will be much more apt to praise Him while you suffer. Learn to give thanks to the Lord in the good times of life so that it will be natural for you to thank Him in the bad times.

Also, if you are not suffering, pray for those who are. We need to reach out with our prayers and love to those amongst us who suffer. Concerned compassion goes a long ways in helping the sufferer endure the suffering. Everyone needs to know that someone actually cares. We can’t make the suffering go away, but we can support those who do suffer.

During your suffering, consider this: we have eternal life in Christ. Circumstances do not dictate our salvation. We are forgiven for all our sins. We have the constant companionship of our Lord always. We have the enabling power of the Spirit of Christ always at work in us. We have the loving and watchful eye of our Heavenly Father protecting us from all harm. We have the guaranteed promise of God that we will spend our eternity with Him. Think about these things and no matter how much you may have to suffer, all will be well. You can do it through Christ who gives us the strength.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Has the Lord spoken to you about something you need to do and you haven’t done it yet? Be careful. Failing to obey God is sin. The Lord holds us responsible for obeying Him.

If you can honestly say that you don’t know what you ought to do, then you need to wait before the Lord until you do. We often push ahead without waiting on our marching orders. We take it upon ourselves to determine how we will serve the Lord. We go where we want to go without being certain it is where the Lord wants us to go. We miss out on so many blessings from God because we don’t wait on Him and end up doing things contrary to what He wants us to do.

There are specific things that the Lord requires from us that are exclusively ours to do and there are general things that are applicable to all believers. All of us are commanded to keep the Lord number one in our lives. We are commanded to be a holy people. We are commanded to rid ourselves of those things which are not holy within us. We are to be students of the Word of God. We are to be a people of prayer. We are to live godly lives amongst the people of the world. We are to be witnesses of Him and mentoring others in the faith. We are to be a people who live in the world but remain detached from the world and its pleasures.

We know what we ought to be doing. The issue is, are we doing it? Don’t live in sin by failing to do what you know God wants you to do. Give up those things which are hindering you from obeying the Lord. Surrender them to Him and confess your sin of disobedience. It is God’s will for you.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


James 4:13-16 Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sin will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wondrous results.

One thing that seems to be very clear in the Scriptures is that we should never give up praying. James stresses that point here when he talks about praying for the sick. So often, we fail to move the hand of God to act in response to our prayers because we give up too easily in our praying. Jesus instructs us to keep on praying. We are to be persistent in our praying. Sometimes the prayers we lift up to God are immediately answered and sometimes the answers take a lot of time. Praying is faith in action. It is believing that God hears our prayers, has a desire to answer them, and then will do it if we pray with hearts in tune with His.

The prayers of a thankful heart swell up into songs of praise to the Lord. They are centered on Christ and submissive to His will. The Lord promises that He will bring healing to the body and soul when we pray. We may not recognize exactly how our prayers are answered, but answered they are. We often fail to trust the Lord in this simply because we don't see the workings of the Spirit through His eyes. We give up praying because we lose confidence in our praying power. We want what we want and forget that what we want may not be what God wants to give. He knows how best to respond to our praying.

Powerful and effective are the prayers of the saints. It is true not because I say so, but because God says so. The rewards are great for those who earnestly seek God, submit to His will, and trust Him to work all things out according to His will and plan for our lives.

Come on out from among them today and be a prayer warrior. Wait on the Lord and see what great things He will do.

Friday, September 16, 2016


James 4:11-12 Don't speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God's law. But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it. God alone, who made the law, can rightly judge among us. He alone has the power to save or destroy. So what right do you have to condemn your neighbor?

Why is it that we find it so hard to listen to what James is saying here? There are very few church bodies out there who do not struggle with this. Most of us as individuals struggle with this. We have a need to be right and when someone doesn't agree with us we are quick to dismiss their opinions as wrong. We rarely are able to listen to what others believe and think it through. We know what we believe based on what we have been taught. We accept what the teachings of our particular church teaches and don't question them. We seldom ask ourselves if perhaps there might be another equally valid way to understand a text or doctrinal teaching. Rather than take an honest look at what others teach, we dismiss it and proclaim them to be wrong. Period. Depending on how strong our convictions are, we speak evil of those who think differently than us. We claim to have THE correct understanding of the Word and often avoid those who don't agree with us.

But, who are we to stand in a position of judgment? What makes us so wise that we have perfect understanding of the Word? Granted, we have the Spirit within us who guides us into proper understandings of the truth, but why then are there so many different interpretations of certain texts to the point where we are divided? Perhaps we need to mellow a bit on our staunch stand on some things and strive to be one in Christ instead of so many. As long as we do not mess with what the Lord did for us on Calvary, there is room in the Kingdom for all of us. We are one in Christ. The cross is our rallying point. We all have the same status before God through the cross. Jesus is our Savior and He is all we need in order to make it to heaven.

We waste way too much of our time and energy squabbling over the fine print. We are not called by God to have perfect understanding; we are called to obey the Word as we understand it. Our understanding evolves as we grow into maturity of faith. We often have to readjust our thoughts as we grow older and wiser in the faith. We don't have any right to condemn one another when we think differently about things. We can discuss our differences in a loving way for our mutual benefit and when we can't agree over something we accept our differences in love and let Christ unite us together in Him.

If changes in understanding needs to be done, the Lord will see to it that it happens in His perfect timing and ways. In the meantime, let's act like the one body we are in Christ.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


James 4:9 Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

When was the last time you actually shed tears over the sins you have committed? Be honest with yourself. When was the last time your heart was truly broken because you know you had sinned against God? It seems to me that a heart heavy with sorrow, grief and shame because of sin is a good thing. There should be times in which we are broken before God because of sin. If we truly believe that we as believers sin against God, it seems to me that there should be times in which those sins crush our hearts. We should be like King David when he wrote Psalm 51. We should be broken in heart and seek God’s forgiveness. There are times in which shedding tears is necessary for the child of God. If we truly love the Lord, our hearts will be broken when we sin against Him.

There are also times in which we should shed tears over the sins of others. Compassion should drive us to our knees when those we know sin against God. We should daily be praying for those whom we know are living in sin. Grief and sorrow should grip our souls for those whose souls are in jeopardy. Sadly, we aren’t driven to our knees very often over the sins of others. We aren’t moved to plead with the Lord to move upon their hearts to convict them of sin. We seldom spend much time pouring out our souls before the Lord on behalf of others. How can we expect anything to change in their hearts if we aren’t praying for them?

There is much emphasis placed on that which excites and entertains us these days. We stress our happiness and seldom stress our need for sorrow. We seldom are challenged to be driven to our knees in grief and sorrow over sin. It should not surprise us that there is very little life-changing going on amongst us. We reap what we sow. Where there is no vision for the devastating effect of sin on our lives, we will all perish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


James 4:8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.

When was the last time you can honestly say that you were close to God? I suspect that most of us would have to admit that we aren’t as close to Him as we should be or want to be. There are many reasons why we struggle with this. Some of us struggle with letting go of those things that keep us from being close to the Lord. There may be certain sins that we enjoy and do not want to let go of. There may be earthly goals that we value more than we do our relationship with Christ. There may be people in our lives that take greater priority to us than the Lord. There may be a lack of concern about the deeper things of life in Christ that causes us to not pursue them like we need to. There may be a distorted sense of our security in Christ that keeps us from sensing the need to grow in our walk with Him. There may be little or no concern about hell that lulls our souls to sleep. Whatever the cause, many of us struggle with getting close to God.

There is always the problem of staying close to God once we get there. Our sinful nature wars against us and often draws us away from God. Many of us are not strong enough in faith to not be lured away. We are not grounded in the Word and disciplined in prayer.

How do we get close to God? We repent of our sins and get serious about our salvation. We resist Satan whenever he rears his ugly head. We take action against him. We become students of the Word and participants in prayer. We put into practice the things we learn from God. We value the things of God more than we do the things of the earth. We purposely keep our eyes focused on Jesus and evaluate everything in light of His righteousness. Holiness becomes our life goal.

Getting close to God and staying there is possible for every believer. In fact, it should be the number one goal in every believer’s life. It takes real determination on our part and much effort. There is no real joy and peace in salvation anywhere except to be near to the heart of God.

Monday, September 12, 2016


James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

Even though this verse is probably very familiar to you and doesn’t need a lot of explanation, let us pause for a few moments to ponder over it today.

The first step in living in victory is humility of heart. Don’t let pride keep you from seeking help from the Lord. Pride gives us a false sense of our strength and ability. It keeps us from recognizing our weaknesses and Satan’s cunning and deceitful ways. Humility keeps us aware of our constant need for Jesus. It is a reminder to us that we are broken and helpless without Him. If we don’t humble ourselves before God, we won’t find help from Him against Satan.

We are to resist the Devil. Satan is for real. He is the archenemy of the soul. He is evil personified. He is always up to no good and we must be determined in our hearts to resist him. It is never a good idea to cuddle up to him or listen to his promptings. He is determined to lure you away from the Lord and will use every trick in the books to do it. Don’t underestimate his power to lure you away from the God you love. Satan is a master at disguising himself up as people so be on the lookout for those who would lead you away from God.

When we are humble before God and resist the Devil, he will flee from you. This is not an idle promise. Satan will not hang around those who are living in Christ and who persistently resist him. He may come back later to try again, but he will not keep harassing you at the moment. Satan cannot stand up against those who stand strong in Christ. It takes guts to stand up and resist Satan, but the rewards are so great! Victory is certain for those who live humbly before God and shut the door on Satan’s face.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


James 4:4 You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can't be a friend of God.

Wait a minute. Reread this verse. Let this truth sink into your mind. Take a look at yourself. How friendly are you with this world? Before you answer this question, let us consider for a moment what that might mean.

Friendship means that you go along with the world. You don't have a problem with what is going on around you. You agree with much of what the world promotes (self-gain; self-worth; liberal morality; lack of accountability; mind your own business mindset; the permanency of life as we know it, very little respect for the sanctity of life etc.). You don't get upset when the world entertains you with stuff contrary to holiness. When you are friendly with the world you don't strive to live a life of holiness in the world. You are more concerned about what others think than what God thinks about things.

What we tend to forget or ignore is that when we become friendly with the world, we become enemies of God. God puts us into the world to change the world, not to let the world change us. When we are in Christ, we are different. We are distinctly more like God than those around us. We value things differently and we live differently. When we live in Christ we are not ashamed of it; rather, we are ashamed of what is going on around us.

If your aim is to enjoy the things of this world, you cannot be a friend of God. Be careful what you live for. Be careful how you think about things. Be careful how comfortable you become with the world around you. If you aren't, you will become like the world and the Lord will not be pleased with you at all. James goes so far as to call those who are friendly with the world adulterers, a people who do not love the Lord. It is impossible to love the Lord and be okay with how things are in the world.

Are you too friendly with the world?

Saturday, September 10, 2016


James 4:1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you?

There are so many quarrels and fights amongst God’s people. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. The main reason why there are so many churches everywhere you go is because there have been splits in the past over meaningless issues. People get miffed at each other and break fellowship with each other. Instead of seeking reconciliation in Christ, lines are drawn and people separate.

The root cause of all broken fellowship is sin. Sometimes broken fellowship is absolutely necessary because there is not a willingness to repent and obey God’s Word. Sometimes people let sin drive them instead of the Lord’s righteousness making fellowship impossible.

However, I believe most broken fellowship is unnecessary. I believe that if there is a willingness to be reconciled at the foot of the cross fellowship can be restored. Instead of digging in our heels, we need to dig in our knees. We need to humble ourselves before God and let Him show us where we are wrong or have wronged others. We need to let Him strip us of our pride and seek the purity of His Word. Sometimes we are simply wrong in our understanding or application of truth and we need the Lord to help us see it. We may not be able to completely be restored to fellowship with others, but we can do our part and seek to live at peace with them.

Fights and quarrels are inevitable because there will always be those amongst us who are being driven by evil desires. Pride prevents many from being humbled in spirit where restoration can take place. Pride convinces the soul that he is right and others are wrong. Pride demands that others conform to our way of thinking. Pride demands that others bend the knee before reconciliation can take place.

Are you at odds with someone today? Have you let pride keep you from seeking restoration of your fellowship? Don’t look at the other person and what their role might be in the problem, look inward and ask the Lord what your role in it might be. Ask Him to humble you and ask Him to purify your heart. Seek peace with the Lord in your heart and you will be able to be at peace with others. Regardless of whether or not the fellowship is restored, you can still love them and seek their good in Christ. Praying for the wholeness of heart before God for you and those you have a problem with is the pathway to peace.

Friday, September 9, 2016


James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

Wisdom, and everything else that comes from heaven, is pure. There is nothing in heaven that is not pure. It is always right and good. Wisdom from God is peace loving, gentle, and submissive to others.

We can tell whether or not what we hear in God's name is from Him or not by whether or not it generates peace, is spoken gently, and is for the good of others. Much of what is attributed to God does not pass this simple test. We need to be careful what we embrace as truth.

Wisdom from God is also full of mercy and good deeds. We do not always tell others what they deserve to hear; instead we tell them the good news of God's love and grace. We bring words of hope and encouragement and not always words of condemnation. We strive to do good and not harm to others. We do acts of kindness for the good of others. Granted, there are times when bluntness is needed, when for the good of others we have to do it, but when we are blunt, we do it with godly love.

Wisdom from God shows no partiality and is always sincere. It comes from the heart and it does not show favortism. It strives to always maintain peace. It always strives to be a good influence in the world and not always stirring up trouble. Peace amongst men is her goal and goodness is her reward.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


James 3:13 If you are wise and understand God's ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don't brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise!

Wisdom involves living a life of steady goodness. It is being governed and guided by the Spirit so that you do not wander away from the holiness of God. Wisdom involves choosing to do what is right before God. Wisdom is seeking to understand the ways of God so that you may do them. Wisdom is understanding that the purpose of all knowledge is to live it.

Living a life of steady goodness means that you don't slack off in your quest for holiness of heart. You are aware of what is God's will for you and you strive to do it. Your desire is to be good and not just talk about it. Living steadily a life of goodness means that it is the way of life for you. It is how you act all the time and not just when you are in the company of other believers. It is who you are at home, work, and play.

When we live right before God, others will see it. Our lives will be enough testimony of who we are and we won't need to brag about it. It's good that we brag about the Lord and what He is doing, but it's not good to brag about ourselves as if we had anything to do with it. All of our goodness comes from the Lord. Our ability to do good deeds comes from the work of the Spirit in us. We are powerless to do good without God's help and abilities.

Wisdom is giving credit where credit is due. It is giving God the glory and honor in all things at all times. He alone is worthy of our praise.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Jas. 3:7-8 People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison.

We must somehow wrap ourselves around this truth. The tongue is inherently evil. Without restraint it will do its evil. It will destroy those around it, without regard for who they may be. An uncontrolled tongue is full of deadly poison. Why? Because the tongue is the extension of the heart. The tongue expresses what is in the heart. When the heart is full of sin, evil dominates one's speech. A sinful heart cannot be tamed by sheer willpower. What the tongue speaks is full of deadly poison; it naturally spews that which devastates and destroys.

The issue then is what can we do about it. Without God's help, there is nothing we can do. Our hearts are naturally evil, and unless we allow the Lord to change our hearts, we are going to act naturally and let our tongues spew out its deadly poison. With great effort there may be some who can tame their tongue to some degree, but not completely. Lies are spoken, hurtful things are said, words of anger come out, etc.

The Lord alone can tame the tongue. He purifies the heart so that what comes out of it is good and not evil. He alone has the power to tame the tongue. His Spirit gives us the willpower to control the tongue. We can have victory over the tongue's deadly poison, but we must let Jesus be our Lord if we are going to do it. It's not an easy thing to do, but with His help, we can do it. The more you let Jesus influence your life, the more you will gain control over your tongue.

Does your tongue need taming today?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Jas. 3:2 We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.

No matter who you think you may be, you make mistakes in your life. Life is full of mistakes we make. No one is any different than anyone else in this regard. Mistakes are going to happen to anyone who does anything at all in life. We make mistakes in the things we do and say.

If we learn the discipline of controlling our tongues, it helps us in every other area of our lives as well. Great damage is done with our tongues and those who learn how to control it have a much better chance of living a happy and successful life. There are some things we can do to maintain a better control of our tongues and lives.

The best thing we can do is stay close to God and ask Him to help us. We can strive to do more thinking before we speak than we normally do. We can ask the Lord to help us to build others up instead of tearing them down. We can put ourselves on the receiving end of our conversations and examine how it would affect us. We can ask the Lord to give us more love for others so that we might not hurt them with our speech. We can ask the Lord to zip our lips when it’s needed. We can walk away from a conversation that is going nowhere but downhill. We can ask the Lord for greater self-discipline in all areas of our lives.

Gaining control over our tongues and lives is not an easy task. The journey is full of many pitfalls and failures. But, we can gain many victories if we persevere with the determination to win. Let the Lord help you in this area of your life and see what great things He can do for you.

Monday, September 5, 2016


James 3:1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.

This is a verse that needs to be taught in the church today. Most of us like to hear ourselves think. We like to make an impression on others with what we think we know. We like to be looked up to as knowledgeable. We want others to value our understanding of things. We feed off of the attention and respect that often comes our way. But, we need to understand that not all of us are qualified to be teachers of the Word.

Good teachers are good students of the Word who practice what they teach. Good teachers teach from experience as much as they do knowledge. They are people who are mature in faith and have gleaned much wisdom from the Word. Good teachers have compassion for those they teach. They are humble in spirit knowing that they don’t have all the answers to life and are striving to learn more than they know. Good teachers are growing in faith and teach with the goal of personal application of what they teach.

Teachers are everywhere, but not all teachers are good teachers in the church. Teaching should be sought after very carefully and prayerfully because God judges those who teach by a stricter standard than those who are listeners rather than teachers. A good teacher knows the art of listening to God even as they teach. It is good to have teachers who teach well the Word of God.

In all things we are to strive to give our best effort to the Lord. If you teach, be the best teacher you can be. If you listen, be the best listener you can be. In all things, strive to put into practice the Word proclaimed.

If you are a teacher in the church, teach humbly, compassionately, carefully and clearly. If you are not a teacher, pray faithfully for those who teach you for they are held accountable to God for what they teach and how they teach.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


James 2:17 So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all--it is dead and useless.

Believing in Christ and His ability to save us from our sins is not enough for our salvation. It is essential, but being right with God involves more than just what we believe. Most people, if they are honest, will admit that they believe in God and Jesus as our Savior. Satan himself knows that the Gospel message is true. Yet, in spite of the fact that most believe, most do not live lives that reflect their belief. Faith does no one any good if it doesn’t impact the way they live.

Saving faith is a changing faith. It changes who we are from the inside out. It changes the way we see things. It changes the way we respond to life. It changes our motives so that we are not self-motivated but Christ-motivated. We live to do good. We desire to help others become viable children of God. We treat others out of love for their souls. We serve the Lord out of our love for Him.

All who profess to have faith and do not live the life of faith have no real faith at all. The Lord demands evidence in our lives that we are sincere in our profession of faith. If you are not living what you profess to believe, you need to reexamine your life and repent of your unfaithfulness. You need to dedicate yourself to the Lord and start acting like you are saved. You must quit making excuses as to why you aren’t serving the Lord. If you don’t take your faith seriously, neither will God.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


James 2:14 Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone.

Faith that is not backed up by action is no faith at all. It does no good to believe something to be true and never put it to the test. Anyone can believe in God and what He has revealed about himself. Anyone can claim to know God. But, unless it shows in the way he lives, it's just talk.

Only God knows the sincerity of the heart, but we can get a pretty good idea from how a person lives as to whether or not his talk is really what is true in his heart. Actions are a reflection of the heart. If how you live and talk don't line up with godliness, then you are not saved.

Jesus changes us from the inside out. He changes how we see things, what we think about, and how we live in relationship to others. He never enters into the heart of someone without changing him. The change varies in speed with the individual, but indeed change happens. In place of sinfulness, Christ makes us holy and righteous. It is who He is and He cannot be anywhere where He does not affect the person in whom He resides.

If your living does not match up to your profession, you need to fall on your knees before God today and get things right with Him.

Friday, September 2, 2016


James 2:12 So whenever you speak, or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law of love, the law that set you free.

Notice that the child of God will be judged by the law of love. I find this to be interesting. What this means is that God will not judge us on our performance. Instead, we will be judged on the motives behind our performance. We may act like a Christian, but our actions do not make us a Christian. There is a two-fold dynamic to the law of love, proclamation and performance.

The law of love is first of all Christ living in me. Everything connected to Christ is love based. God is love and we cannot have God in our hearts without our being a people of love. Everything we do and say is affected by the love of God. We are characterized by loving hearts. We care about others and it shows. We strive to make life better for others. We enter into other people’s lives because we want to help them find their way to God.

The law of love is the basis upon which we will be judged. Whatever we do or say will be seen in the light of godly love. Godly love is love with character. It is unwavering and dependable. It endures regardless of circumstances. It is character building at all times. It always strives to help and not hinder the spiritual growth of others. It is kind and gentle, yet firm when it is needed. It is a steady stream flowing outward from the steady stream that flows inward in us. It is always fresh, being renewed constantly from Him who is love.

We are set free from all that hinders our ability to live in godly love. Jesus frees us from the sin that keeps us away from God’s love. He floods our souls with God’s love so that we can love others God’s way. We must always strive to keep sin out of our souls so that we can speak and do what pleases God. We will be judged on how well we love those whom Jesus loves.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


James 2:10 And the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God’s laws.

This verse should cause all who think that they are good enough to make it to heaven on their own to change their minds. Anyone who takes the time to consider all the various laws of God quickly realizes just how impossible it is to live by the law and make it to heaven. You may be able to perfectly obey all of the law except one (which no one can do) and obey the other one half the time, and you would be guilty of the full punishment of the law for sin, which is God’s condemnation. The law of God demands perfection in order to be good enough to make it to heaven and perfection includes the heart motive as well as the performance.

The message is very clear: forget trying to make it to heaven by doing good. It is a path of life that leads to certain destruction. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to be saved through the law. The only one who has ever been able to live by the law and make it to heaven is Jesus. He alone was able to enter heaven on His own merit. He alone was able to fulfill all the demands of the law for holy living. Not only was Jesus able to not sin against God, He was able to take upon himself our sins and make us right with God and satisfy the law’s demand for justice.

We will make it to heaven only through Christ. Only when His righteousness becomes our own through Calvary are we able to be accepted by God. Only Jesus is able to forgive sin and cast them into the sea of God’s forgetfulness. When God looks upon the soul of man and sees the righteousness of Christ, all is well. If Jesus is not there then the soul is condemned to hell.

Dear friend, are you living in the righteousness of Christ today? Are you depending on Him alone for your salvation? Is your conscience clear before God? Do you know for a fact that all is well with your soul? Does your life reflect the righteousness of Christ? Do you live for Christ out of a pure heart full of love for Him?

Warning: If you have wandered away from Christ’s protective care where His righteousness no longer covers you, you are in grave danger and need to repent of your sins today! Jesus is the only way anyone is going to avoid an eternity in hell for all who sin fall short of God’s demand for righteousness and holy living. Jesus is our righteousness and holiness from God.