Saturday, August 18, 2018

August 18

We never want to be used by the enemy to attack another Christian, that’s why God gave us guidelines for handling our disputes. At no point does His word say we should publicly expose what we consider sin. Look at the story of the women accused of adultery; the Pharisees brought her to Jesus, trying to find a reason to charge Him. They wanted to catch Him disobeying the Law. He knelt down and began to write in the sand, He stood up and said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” He bent down again and one by one they walked away. 

Too many times we relentlessly tear one another apart and publicly expose them to the scrutiny of bystanders who have nothing to do with the situation. I stood by and watched as this happened to my very dear friend. It was a vicious verbal public beating by people who once called her a friend. She was tried and punished, and not once did she speak out in her defense. My heart was broken. God gave her strength to endure. Good will come from this because He never lets the enemy have the final say. 

Follow the Lord’s guidelines when situations seem wrong. Take your concerns directly to that person and try to resolve the dispute one on one. If that doesn’t work, you take someone with you. If there is still no resolution, you can take it before your church. If these guidelines had been followed in my friend's case, it could have been resolved without ever being exposed. Be careful out there, we have enough trouble with non-believers, we shouldn’t torment our own.

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

Friday, August 17, 2018

August 17

As I’m traveling along a path through the Bible, the path that God placed me on, I’m finding that it’s playing out in real life! A bit of righteous fear of the Lord comes over me, not because He would harm me, but because of how close He is to me! It’s especially haunting, because I’m systematically reading through the Book of James. The words, the situation, and the outcome are the same. If I were an unbeliever, reading this portion of scripture and compared it to the situation before me, I would cry in repentance and come to Jesus! However, if my heart is hardened, the scripture would be twisted by the enemy, to keep me deceived. If you don’t read God’s word with a repentant heart, and a desire to know its life giving truth, it will mean nothing to you. Today’s message is a warning. Be careful out there, God is closer than you think! He knows your every move, and what’s even scarier is that He knows your heart! Come before Him with clean hands and a pure heart.

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalms 24:3-5

Thursday, August 16, 2018

August 16

Do you ever wake up with something troubling on your mind? This happens to me more often than not. Well, that’s why you’re getting this devotional today. I woke up thinking about home owners association issues! We have stuff going on in our neighborhood and a specific guy who is very needling. I don’t like waking up with a nagging feeling, it’s not refreshing. So before I even looked at the next section of verses in my Bible, I asked God to give me something that would help me as well as others. You're not going to believe what verse came next in my study of James - time is too short for you to be concerned about tomorrow! I am often floored by how close He is and how devoted He is to me and my everyday cares. 

I’m torn about which direction to take this writing. Do I tell you how awestruck I am about God’s love for me and you, or do I encourage you to leave your cares to Him? I just can’t get over this incredible feeling! In a moment's time I went from worry and discouragement to elation, because I know He heard me and because He doesn’t want His daughter to be fretful. This man obviously doesn’t know who I am, or who my Father is! If he did, he might be more concerned with the repercussions of coming against His favorite child than worrying about whether the HOA is going to pay to fill a hole in his yard! Get a shovel mister and fill in your own hole! Okay, so now you see how ridiculous my worry was. What’s on your mind that needs to be thrown in the trash heap? The Father, who loves you because you’re His favorite, doesn’t want you to concern yourself about tomorrow; were not here long enough for all that!

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-15

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

August 15

We are all guilty of trying to walk the line between God and the world. My picture of this type of double mindedness is someone who is partying like a rock star, drunk in the club, trying to bring someone to Jesus. It could also be a person who had thoughts of disgust and disdain for someone right before going to God in prayer. I’ve used this example before, but it’s fitting to use it again. I love my little dogs! They make me laugh, they are loving and sweet when they curl up in my lap, and they keep me entertained. Sometimes when I turn them loose in the yard, they will make their way to the stinkiest thing they can find, and roll in it. Then they want to love on me! Yuck! Another example might be when your child tries to come into the house after they’ve been playing in the mud. In both of these cases, they need baths! When we want to draw near to the Father, we need to be clean, free from sin. Confess your sin, and clothe yourself in the righteousness of Jesus. When we humble ourselves before the Father who loves us, He will exalt us.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:8-10

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14

When I’m writing, I sit near a window. Sometimes the early morning sun will shine so bright that I have to shade my eyes. What I noticed was, if I hold my hand or an object in the beam, I can direct the light onto something else. It can shoot clear across the room, and it looks like someone just turned on a flashlight! The light then transforms the object that it’s shining on from darkness to being in the spotlight. When Jesus told us that He is the light of the world, this is exactly what He meant. We are the object that His beam is shining on and we can direct that beam anywhere! Another thing about that bright light, if you look directly at it, you can’t see anything else. If you look directly at Jesus, will you then see everyone through His light in your eyes? Also, if you’re not a reflection of Him, who are you reflecting, darkness? There is no reflection in darkness, you are just consumed by it. If you are a follower of Christ, you cannot be consumed by darkness, and you will not stumble because you have the light of life. There are two lessons here: shine your light on others so they see Jesus through you, and start looking at others through His eyes.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13

I’m one of those who needs my quiet time, so I schedule time alone first thing in the morning before the exuberant, overly excited, extrovert of a man wakes up. Otherwise, no matter where I’m at in the house, I can hear him. Don’t get me wrong, I need him to be the way he is because he helps me reach the potential I could never get to by myself. I’m very independent and can do almost anything a man can do, but do I really want to? I don’t think so. Independence is probably the biggest drawback of being me. It’s just my nature, it’s the way God created me. Opening myself up for scrutiny, or even just letting someone know what I’m incapable of doing, is just unnatural for me. As much as I love my independence, I know that I need others. As an example, my dog Rudy needs me. He has really long hair, and he doesn’t have the ability to trim it out of his eyes, so I have to do it for him. Like Rudy there are just some things we cannot do. No matter how independent we are, we all need other people. Don’t neglect your friends or your spouse, you need them.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

I don’t know who this was for this morning, but I had a really hard time writing it. Please tell me so I can pray for you.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

August 12

I read an article that pitted one political official against another. Both are seeking the same office. Both officials have failed the people on this particular issue, but neither are completely responsible. However, that’s not what you hear in the advertising. You can see the devil at work in this. His signature is all over the advertising of candidates, and his most useful tool is his lies. He stirs up strife and hatred among people, and causes bickering and fighting. If you do any amount of research on a particular candidate you will find that what is advertised is only partial truth, and is completely unrecognizable from the whole truth. His goal is to keep us at odds with one another, so we believe the lies. We want to believe the lies because it makes it easier for us to choose a candidate, and we want them to give us our desires. That is the key! We want them to give us our desires! It’s all self serving. We don’t even ask God, because what we want is for our own earthly pleasure. When we do ask, our motives are all wrong, and He doesn’t give us what we want. Submit yourself to God and resist the devil and his lies. When voting, ask God to give you sound judgment so that you follow His desires.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3