“Stop Fighting With Each Other”

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You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure. – James 4:3 ISV
 
Let’s think back over the last few “discussions over differences” that we have had with a loved one, an acquaintance or someone ever the phone. In what percentage of the statements that we made, did the word “I” come up?  Were our thoughts, desires, and words based on “just judgment” or on our fleshly desires? Were we seeking justice or desiring to convince the other person(s) involved that we were right and they were wrong?  Or, if we are honest, were we just wanting to have it “our” way?  If we just wanted to have it our way, that is pride and we were more than likely wrong and just didn’t want to admit it.  When these “discussions over differences” get a little ugly, the flesh desires to kill and we satisfy that desire by using unkind and hurtful words.  Those words kill relationships. We covet the approval of our opinions from the other(s) involved in the discussion. so, we try to change their minds with our gift of persuasion. Instead, we should understand our limitations and ask God to change the minds of the ones who are wrong, accepting the fact that that might be us and not the others.  If we truly want God to answer our prayers (and He always does), then we need to be ready to accept the answer He gives.  Because the passage ends with the words “that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”, we tend to limit it to mean money. But, it applies to more than possessions and money, it also applies to time and talents. Are we using the time, talents and possessions that we have now for the glory of God?  We need to remember that all these “things” are really God’s anyway, they are just on loan to us and we could lose them quickly. Before we ask God for anything, we should be sure that what we are desiring will bring glory to His name.

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Col. 3:17 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-07-2018

Words, Too Many, Too Often

even-smaller-bug-light19 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. — James 3:9-12 NIV

​ ​These verses come at the end of a passage that speaks of the tongue and how our inability to control it causes us some many problems.  No human can tame his or her tongue. We can pray about it and we can strive to do it, but it is an impossible task for a human.  Only one man was able to do so and that was Jesus, the God-Man.  Nevertheless, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of asking the Holy Spirit to help us do better every day.  Our goal is to be that person who would never say or do anything to hurt someone else and that is the mark at which we should be aiming. Words that we speak without any intention of hurting anyone are often taken in the wrong way and cause pain to others.  Our prejudices, and we all have them, sometimes lead to a “slip of the tongue”.  Our thoughts lead to words and actions that show our true feelings and attitudes about others.  We need to always pray this prayer:

 
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. — Psalm 19:14
The things that we talk about most are the things that are truly important to us. The words and actions that we say and do are the fruits of our mindset and our hearts’ desires.  Just as a tree produces fruit after its kind, we will produce like fruit, be it good or evil. Our tongues were made to give praise, glory and honor to our Father in heaven.  Just as He spoke creation into existence, we have the power to speak words of life or death.  Let us always speak the words of life.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” — John 6:68, 69

Post 11-18-2015

Do We Love Praise From People More Than Praise From God?

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

37 Though Jesus had done many miracles in front of the people, they still did not believe in him. 38 This was to bring about what Isaiah the prophet had said: “Lord, who believed what we told them? Who saw the Lord’s power in this?” 39 This is why the people could not believe: Isaiah also had said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes, and he has closed their minds. Otherwise they would see with their eyes and understand in their minds and come back to me and be healed.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 But many believed in Jesus, even many of the leaders. But because of the Pharisees, they did not say they believed in him for fear they would be put out of the synagogue. 43 They loved praise from people more than praise from God.—John 12:37-43 (NCV)
​Isaiah​ had prophesied many years earlier that the people would not believe or receive Jesus. Because their traditions and praise from men had come to mean more to them than God’s law and God’s approval, God had chosen to blind their spiritual eyes and close their minds to spiritual understanding. Many of the people did believe in Jesus but were afraid to say so. They were fearful that they would be put out of the synagouge. If this happened they would be ridiculed and treated as outcasts in the villages. Their fleshly desires outweighed their faith that Jesus was who He said He was. Jesus had told the people earlier that they would have to confess Him before men.
32 “All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me. 33 But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me.—Matt. 10:32, 33 (NCV)
​How​ many of us have felt that little nudge from the Holy Spirit to speak out but we have remained silent? We were afraid of being ridiculed by society and our flesh wanted acceptance from our little clique. How did you feel after that happened? Guilty? Don’t let satan beat you up because you failed. We can take a lesson from Peter. If we feel condemnation, it is from satan. If we feel conviction, it is from the Holy Spirit.
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.–Romans 8:1 (NLT)
God​ is ​still ​in the forgiving business no matter how many times we fail Him.
8 If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.—1 John 1:8, 9 (NCV)

Be Rich and Righteous

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1​ Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.​ 5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people,​ ​who do not resist you.—James 5:1-6 (NLT)
God does not have a problem with us having money. He realized how important it is but He also realized, that as humans, we could become too attached to money and the material things that we could purchase with it.
Jesus talked about money more than He did Heaven and Hell combined.
Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.
11 of 39 parables talk about money.
1 of every 7 verses in the Gospel of Luke talk about money.​–Answers.com​
​Jesus wants us to understand that money, in and of itself, is neither good nor evil. Whether it is good or evil in our lives depends on how we acquire it, what we do with it, and whether or not money becomes our “god” .
​This​ passage is a warning to those who would get their riches using the wrong methods and use it to purchase the wrong things for the wrong reasons. God will not take second place to anything or anyone.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.–Matt. 6:24 (NKJV)
​Mammon​ means more than just money. In earlier times, mammon was the god of wealth and riches, so it refers to money, material things and false gods. It can also refer to a wicked spirit that causes people to do sinful acts to accumulate wealth of any sort. Jesus knew that we needed money to buy what we need to sustain life, but He also knew it could be a huge problem. Now we can see why Jesus talked about money so often and why He warned us about getting attached to it.
Having no money or very little money can be a problem as well as having too much. Having too much seems to be the bigger problem. There are more Christians who fail the “prosperity” test there are who fail the “poverty” test.
Here is some advice from Proverbs:
7 O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.
8 First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name
–Proverbs 30:7-9 (NLT)

Post 09-31-14

We Must Remain Faithful

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work-2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NLT)
​God has given​ us the Bible, His Holy Scriptures, for instruction and guidance. They are the inerrant, immutable, eternal Word of God. They are His love letters to us. The scriptures are His letters to us, much like a wise earthly father would write in His will (testament) to his children. Only they are much better because they come from an omnipotent, omniscient Father, our God. They are also better because He sent His Holy Spirit to explain those letters to us. We can read the letters and if we have questions, we can ask the Author directly for the answer. All Scripture is inspired by God. It teaches us about salvation, truth, and how to live holy lives. If we “talk with God” and not just “to God”, His Word will correct us, teach us what is right, and prepare us to do every good work that God planned for each of us to do before the foundations of the earth were laid. Our part is “to seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness”. If we are faithful in doing our part, God will add “all these things to us”. Things like, knowledge, wisdom, righteousness, holiness and everything that we need for living a holy lifestyle.

Continue Teaching the Right Stuff

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

14 Continue teaching these things, warning people in God’s presence not to argue about words. It does not help anyone, and it ruins those who listen. 15 Make every effort to give yourself to God as the kind of person he will approve. Be a worker who is not ashamed and who uses the true teaching in the right way. 16 Stay away from foolish, useless talk, because that will lead people further away from God. 17 Their evil teaching will spread like a sickness inside the body.– 2 Timothy 2:14-17a (NCV)
​In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV) 2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,
​We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.
Post 02-20-14

Praying With Wrong Motives

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.–James 4:1-3 (NLT)
Regardless of what popular songwriters might tell us, there is no such thing as unanswered prayer. There are at least 3 possible answers that God can give. He can say “Yes” or “No” or “Go, but go slow”. The prayers that we perceive as unanswered are those that don’t agree with what we expected the answer to be. If we have crosschecked our desires with Scripture and there is no conflict, the answer is usually “Yes”. God provides everything we need when we need it. He is not required to give us everything we want. Focusing on what we don’t have always causes conflict. The conflict may be limited to our own personal life, but it will most likely affect every relationship we have. We wage personal wars against our conscience and against our family and friends. In the case of nations, we wage war to gain new lands or to dominate the wills of others. So, pray about what to pray about, then pray. God hears and answers every prayer.
Post 01-26-14