Sunday, September 29, 2019

STRIFE OR PEACE

Strife or peace



The Apostle James just gets finished writing the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. He then goes back to the negative or the bad side of what could happen if confusion and every evil work is in a given family structure whether it be family, social, church, work or one to one relationships. He says sometimes wars and fighting take place and it is primarily because of the lusts that is in our members. At this point the Apostle expands on this biblical principle. He says you lust and have not, ye kill and desire to have but can not obtain, ye fight and war yet ye have not because ye ask not but James goes deeper into this precept. The Apostle says ye ask and receive not because oftentimes we ask amiss but he adds that ye may consume it upon your lusts or pleasures. If this is complicated language for you I promise to make it very simple.

James continues with some pretty strong language by saying ye adulterers and adulteresses don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? If we are a friend of the world we are enemies with God or unfaithful to Him. I will explain this principle deeper after I quote the original text.

The Apostle James reminds them that the Scriptures are not in vain and sometimes the spirit that that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make referance to it in this particular study of the Bible.

(1) "From whence come wars and fighting among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts at war in your members? (2) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (3) and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (4) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (5) Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?" James 4: 1 - 5.

The biblical precept that James is trying to get across is if we lust after worldly things division is inevitable but sometimes it can be taken to a level that is a shameful height. If this does happen Jesus Christ is not even close to be found for all practible purposes in that group. The Apostle James explains to these Jewish Christians why their wars were taking place and the causes of their lusts. The reason for their battles was not love for country and honoring God because there were negative Godly lusts in them that were causing them to sin. We need to examine if we have true zeal for God or pride. If the latter is the case we will battle inside ourselves with lust and more than likely fight on the outside. We can have lust for power, pleasure or riches but when they come to the surface as Christians we are contributing to the contentions that are in the world. The only way to solve the problem through Jesus Christ is to mortify those lusts that are in our members.

These desires will be disappointed if we say no but so will we because our flesh is so used to having the sin / sins fulfilled. We should not appease or satisfy these transgressions just because we want our void filled through desire because the Bible offers a better way through righteousness in and through Jesus Christ. We can make sure our worldly or fleshly lusts are satisfied but (I don't mean to repeat the same word) we will never be satisfied. We will have to keep committing the same sin over and over again because lust always desires more. If we have this affection for a transgression and keep committing the sin / sins then we will generally opt not to pray to God. That is why James writes you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. If we do not consult God in what we do and do not make a decision to commit our ways to Him then we will follow our own corrupt ways and inclinations to sin. What the Apostle is saying is our lusts will spoil our prayers.

There are all kinds of sins such as sensuality, pride or bitterness but they hinder our prayers. My advise is to first repent in the most sincere way you know how to because that is a start in the right direction. If we just pray without getting our sins right our devotion toward God will be hindered, not to mention we dishonor Jesus Christ and as a result our prayers are rejected. In this particular case we would be asking God for success in what we are doing but it would not be because we want to glorify Jesus Christ or to do Godly good. To the contrary we would consume our growth with the lusts of sin. Remember Jesus Christ died for our sins so we could be forgiven not so we can prosper in our transgressions.

When we as believers in Christ are not to hasty in our prayers that could be good in many cases because we might ask God for something amiss. In this case we would not be petitioning God for the right issues in the proper manner. When our prayers become our lusts then the grace of God will return empty to us for our souls.

We are warned by James to avoid all friendships with the world because we will become earthly minded in our life. This without devotion to Jesus Christ is enmity to God. A person can be wealthy and keep himself in the love of God but it is an entirely different thing to set the world on the throne of our hearts. This is why James writes whosoever therefore is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. If we have an adulterous, idolatrous love of this world of course there are going to be wars and fighting on the outside. What is inside of us must come out on the outside. We can not have peace with people if we have enmity towards God.

If we are corrupt there will be a lust to envy and we will always desire more but devotion to Jesus Christ gives us closure in love of God. It is not that the world will not give us position and pleasure but according to this passage we will fall into strife and quarrels just by the mere fact that we are friends with worldly desires because the two go hand in hand. If you desire to avoid contentions then make a decision not to be friends with the world. God gives more grace than the world not to even mention the fact that the people of this earth can turn on us at any moment. They can not even guarantee us tomorrow.

If  we feel we are falling into this trap the grace of God can correct a worldly spirit but we must make a decision to give our devotion to Jesus Christ. We can not stay in the middle because the lusts of earthly desires are to strong. These impulses naturally dwell in us but God through His Son Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit will give us His Spirit of love which is the opposite of the world.

If you do not know the Lord in a personal way now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ in your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of the Living God in your life. If you do not make this choice then your only option is to be worldly and have earthly sinful desires. It is only when we have Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives that the grace of God dwells in us so we will not have to be immersed in sin. Of course there are different levels of this lifestyle but with the help of the Triune Godhead our path down here on earth will be righteous. The decision is up to you and I hope and pray people reading this article will make the right choice. 

God Bless you,
Bob D

Sunday, September 22, 2019

THE BAD IN COMPARISON TO THE GOOD

The bad in comparison to the good


The Apostle James starts out and warns that we should not have bitter envying or strife in our hearts. When we have selfish ambition especially in a boasting way we will fall because it is unavoidable. This is not a good combination and the Holy Spirit is not quiet about this subject. This precept even goes deeper because this wisdom does not come from heaven but is earthly, sensual and devilish because where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work.

James changes his tone to the exact opposite content for our lives. The Apostle writes that the wisdom that is from above is first pure then he lists seven Godly characteristics that stem from being pure. The seven good qualities that we are to have from God is peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

The Apostle highlights that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it if need be in this particular study in the Bible.

(14) "But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (16) For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." James 3: 14 - 18.

We will not have the Spirit of the Lord on us if envying and strife is in us because these destructive emotions are opposed to the meekness of wisdom. The good or the bad can reside in our hearts but envy and true wisdom can not "Both" reside at the same time in our spirit. It is either one or another so we have to be proactive in our walk with Jesus Christ. If we are not envy and strife can slip in and we may not even realize it is happening. 

The Apostle James lists the order of the bad and good. Envying is the very first ungodly emotion he writes about but what we need to understand is it excites strife. It does not just cause strife but it leads to vain glorying and lying but the result is it causes confusion and every evil work. The Apostle explains the domino effect because one sin begets another so this should make us think not to even commit the first transgression. Sin is greedy because it always desires more. Transgressions by nature have mischief in it and it will untimely lead into every evil work. This type of evil wisdom come from earthly principles because it is sensual, indulging the flesh and is devilish. If we choose to be lifted up with this wisdom according to this passage it will fall into the condemnation of the devil.

On the other hand a lovely picture of the wisdom from above is painted in verse seventeen and eighteen. Never forget that true wisdom from God is always a gift from Him and we can never conjuror this up in our own flesh. First James writes that it is pure without any kind of mixture that is from the world. If we are truly pure this holiness will be in our heart and life.

The next Godly characteristic the Apostle James writes about that is from above is peaceable. Those who are extra wise do everything they can to preserve this "Peace" that it may not be broken because it is so precious but on the other hand to make peace where it was lost so it may be restored in the Person of Jesus Christ. Heavenly wisdom allows people to be peaceable because of our decision to sow this wonderful Godly characteristic in a world filled with strife. This is an opportunity to show the Prince of Peace who is Jesus Christ.

The next word James mentions is gentle. This Godly gift is never harsh or loses it's temper. For example if we are in a conversation it is never rude or overbearing. Sometimes in political debates over here in America if there are free for all rules one candidate will do nothing but interrupt his or her opponent and people are foolish enough to hale that person as the winner. I see nothing but arrogance and ignorance which is just the opposite of gentleness. I notice this Godly characteristic right away and am very drawn to this person.

Heavenly wisdom is easy to be entreated because it is very persuadable to what is good. This is an acceptable easiness to have the opportunity to yield ourselves to the persuasions of biblical principles especially when a fellow brother or sister in Christ approaches us with a possibility to meet a person's / group's need / needs and make some sort of an righteous influence on his, her or the group's life. We should be very open to this because I have never seen a time period in history where the needs are greater than this point of time. 

Heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits. We as Christians need to relieve those who have legitimate needs but it is also referring to those who offend us because we are to have forgiveness in our hearts. I just most recently had a person be extremely bold and rude to me that I barely knew but I prayed to God to put a forgiving spirit in my heart. This person gave me such a verbal lashing that I was literally shaking on the inside. This is hard because our flesh desires us to really let them have a piece of our mind but this is just going to lead into confusion and every evil work. Wisdom from above can change to wisdom from below in ten seconds. We have the grace of God through the mercy of His Son Jesus Christ. I would strongly advise that you as a Christian avail yourself to this love from God. 

Heavenly wisdom is without partiality or wrangling. We should not censure other people because this wisdom that is from above is without hypocrisy. If we have disguises in ourselves it will come out on the outside. Hiding secret sin / sins tends to lead to partiality toward other people. I have also observed that people that have deceit in their hearts almost always engage in partiality toward other people. If we are sincere with a pure heart and a clean conscience partiality almost never happens because we have an open spirit, steady and consistent with God, ourselves and other people. It is worth it to get and stay right with Jesus Christ so we can be fair and objective with people that come into our lives. If this leads into subjective opinions regarding a situation we are in a pretty good place to give Godly advise.

True wisdom will desire to sow the fruits of righteousness in the spirit of peace because a true believer in Christ does not want war. We were called in the Bible to war against our own sin. For example just read Romans chapter 6, 7 and 8 and it will become clear to you that this battle is sanctioned and commanded by God. Some people war against people as a lifestyle but we were called as Christians to sow the fruits of righteousness in peace. We are called by God to make peace in this world. If we do sow peace this will produce a harvest of joy rather than the constant contention in this world.

If you do not know the Lord in a personal way now may be a good time to come to Him. It is as simple as accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. You will either have earthly wisdom which is straight from the devil or you will have heavenly wisdom which is from above. The choice is up to us but God gives us a little room to make our own decision to test our character. The wisdom from below produces no positive results but the wisdom from above will last for all eternity. I hope and pray that you just made that all important eternal decision for your life. As you walk through your life choose heavenly wisdom as opposed to earthly wisdom.

God Bless you,
Bob D.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

TRUE WISDOM IN WORD AND DEED.

True wisdom in word and deed



God created an order in mankind so James goes on to say every kind of beasts, birds and serpents of the sea is tamed but he writes this with the purpose of explaining some points about the tongue. If this very small member of the body is used wrong no person can tame it because it is evil and has a very bad effect on other people.

James makes his point that Christians should bless God (people usually say God bless you) but he also explains that people were made after the similitude of God. Out of one month it is possible that both blessings and cursing can take place but the Apostle writes do not let this happen. Does a fountain produce both sweet and bitter water? Can a fig tree bear olive berries? No fountain brings forth both fresh and salt water at the same time.

We could ask ourselves a question --- who is wise in this internet fellowship and has knowledge among us because James asked the same question. The Apostle then urges us to be of good conversation and let him or her show works with meekness of wisdom.

(7) "For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: (8) But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (9) Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. (10) Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (11) Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (12) Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (13) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. " James 3: 7 - 13.

It is extremely difficult to govern the tongue. God did create an order in the universe but what James is driving at is so common that it is the norm with people in everyday life. The tongue is a small member but it can be worse than big creatures living on planet earth. For example big animals tend to be tamed through the good order of God but the tongue can run wild if not checked on a daily basis. This is not impossible but very difficult. We have to be aware and sometimes it will be with pain through prayer. This small member is as an unruly evil because the tongue breaks all the rules with the ability to spit out it's verbal poison to a person or other people. This is not to mention that heaven hears our foolish words. The only place that is jumping up and down are the demons surrounding our lives. It is very tempting to say something foolish in a heated conversation.

We should be speaking righteous words with our tongues in our faith and service to Jesus Christ. If we are giving glory and praise to God than we also have the ability to curse or slander other people. Perhaps we may even say words really high in a heated debate. It is possible to give reverence to God and then turn on other people with brawling language. It is interesting that James chimes in and says these things ought not so to be because when we feel like saying something stupid and damaging we should resist this temptation.

To fix this problem the Apostle James shows us two examples. A fountain does not bring forth fresh and bitter water nor does a fig tree produce olive berries. In like manner our tongues can be so destructive and this is not even remotely consistent with the love of God. If we speak words that hurt and try to witness about the grace of God through His Son Jesus Christ then the other person or group probably will not listen to us or our witness. It is somewhat similar to us living in sin and trying to portray the love of God is pure. True faith in Jesus Christ will not allow these contradictions in our life. This is why we as Christians should always be yielding to God because we are not perfect but deep down we desire to be without defect. True faith in Jesus Christ will season our words with salt and live in all matter of conversation (live righteous / holy). When both Godly words and a righteous life combined with each other are working in combination then our lives will be influencing other people because we will be pointing to the Son of God. 

We can pretend to live a Godly life but people can usually discern if we are hiding something dark or sinful. There is wisdom from above and wisdom from hades so we might as well make a decision now and perhaps start with what the Apostle James is writing about regarding our tongues. 

What is true wisdom from heaven? Godly knowledge is not in and of itself living a righteous life. If we make a proper application to that Godly knowledge this is true faith in Jesus Christ. These two truths must be working together (word and deed) to have true wisdom with God, ourselves and other people. If we have more wisdom than some people in our lives it will show up in our conversation. I believe we should not allow our words to be rough or prideful. Some people may say not talking "Rough" might be impossible but I would say just try your best to not speak rough. As I look back in my life very few people that spoke rough had any kind of influence on my life. The Christians that seasoned their speech with salt had a pretty strong direction in my life and my walk with Jesus Christ. If we really desire to make an impression on a person's spirit back up our words with a righteous life. This is what verse thirteen says so our faith in the Son of God should come out with proper words and deeds. Notice this is an advanced more specific study of faith without works is dead. Think well, talk right and live a holy life. 

The Apostle James goes on to write true wisdom in God will be recognized by the meekness of our spirit. If this is the case we will not lose our temper. It is wise to control our anger or bear patiently with another person's temper with a gentle spirit. In general I believe James is urging us to have a mild and calm disposition so we can be reasonable with our lives and other people. Wisdom produces meekness but it is a perpetual circle because meekness will increase wisdom. 

If you have never accepted the Lord into your life now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. I hope and pray you just made that all important eternal decision.

All Christians have a responsibility to live in good word and deed before God and other people. If we do this our conscience will be clear and clean rather than a rubber band going this way and in some other dark direction. We serve a merciful God so we can and should repent of our sins even as Christians. It is so much better to live our lives as God would have us to walk as opposed to living a lifestyle of sin in word (ungodly speaking) and deed (living our life in sin). Only we can make this choice before God. We need to make the right decision.

God Bless you,
Bob D. 

Saturday, September 07, 2019

ONE SMALL MEMBER THAT IS VERY BIG


One small member that is very big



The Apostle starts out in James chapter three by saying ... "Be not many masters" meaning that there should not be to many Bible teachers because not only would there be confusion but expositors of the word of God will be judged in a more comprehensive way because they are representing Jesus Christ.

I have been lead to many projects for God but it was not until recently that I was called to be a teacher of the Bible. It took God almost 55 years to prime me for this position. I have to laugh at many of these people that are young and straight out of Bible college. These students think that because of this degree they are ready to preach. Sometimes I say to myself, " You have no idea." If I started teaching at age 25 I would have been kicked out of the door at age 26. Do not teach the Bible to other people unless God throws you in a closet and locks the door.

James then talks about control and the subject of offending other people. The Apostle then writes about how people put bits in the horses' months for the purpose of obeying us and of course the person has the ability to turn the horses' whole body. James writes this because he is trying to make a point about our tongues. 

Then James writes about a pilot being able to control his ship. They may be big, driven of fierce winds yet these ships are turned about with a very small helm. Once again the Apostle draws an analogy to make a point about our tongues. 

At this point the Apostle James talks about what he really desires to impart to his readers. He explains that the tongue is a little member but boasts great things. He likens our speech to ... "How great a matter a little fire kindleth." This passage actually says the tongue is a fire and a world of iniquity or sin. The tongue is a small member but has the ability to defile the whole body. The tongue can be evil and corrupt the soul. Let me just quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.

(1) "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (2) For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (3) Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. (4) Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. (5) Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (6) And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." James 3: 1 - 6. 

I wrote in my previous two articles that faith without works is dead. Emotions are funny because even as Christians we could loss our temper. That is just one example of what could happen but James urges us to censor our tongues. We certainly do not want to use our tongues as weapons over other people.

In verse one the Apostle writes about teachers and the basic tone of the words are do not teach your own sentiment to impart a message. What we think or feel is not necessarily what the Bible teaches. We need to speak or write with the spirit of humility as learners delivering a message to people. The reason I just used the word "People" is because you would be surprised as to who is listening in on the presentation of the Bible message.

If a preacher / teacher sets themselves up as judges and censures the word of God they will incur the greater condemnation. If the leader just desires to tickle the ears of their listeners and for all practical purposes throws the Bible out then they will be judged for misleading a group of people. By the way a singer or a television host can gather disciples and mislead a multitude of people. There are other types of areas that can also mislead but I thought I would list two to give you the general idea of what I am trying to portray to you in principle.

Think twice before you accept a leadership position because you have the ability to mislead people with your tongue away from God. Of course our judgment is going to be more strict and severe because we are called to a higher standard. On the other hand if we are teaching the word of God and are faithful, inspiring other people to give their hearts over to Jesus Christ then God will be well pleased with us; however, the standards are higher than most leaders understand.

We are all capable of sin and when a leader sees his own mistakes and offences before God he will be far less apt to judge other people. If leaders are not right with God in one way or another they are justifying their sins and are self - deceivers rather than gentle guiders of the Bible in word and deed. 

The reason we govern are tongues is to prove ourselves righteous before God and men. If we bridle our tongues we will have control over ourselves. If Christians do not offend others with their tongues (word) there is a good chance they will be seen as a sincere or advanced Christian. We must ask for wisdom and grace from God which enables us to rule our tongues. The result will be our responses to other people will be becoming for Jesus Christ.

If a huge horse has a small bit in his month this is a great example that we are large but the tongue is small and extremely powerful. Just like love and hate are powerful emotions our words can be pleasant or cause injury.

If a horse runs wild we will fall right off that animal. If we do not have control over our tongues we will hurt ourselves and other people. James also talks about the helm of the ship which is small. In like matter so is the tongue so the Apostle is trying to say our words govern the whole man.

If we make thirty to sixty thousand decisions per day we are saying a lot of words even if we are not verbally talking in a physical form. The key is to speak Godly words both silently and verbally. Our words form our soil to righteousness or a not so nice person. The tongue is a little member but it is capable of doing tremendous good or hurting someone in a very severe way. I have seen both examples and there is a vast difference. Think about this principle, we can make a huge difference in others for good or bad with our words (tongues).

Sometimes I can actually feel the demons when someone is talking to me and nothing but cursing comes out of his or her month. James uses terms such as ... "World of iniquity," ... "Defileth the whole body, ... "Setteth on fire the course of nature" and ... "Set on fire of hell." The whole body and soul can be thrust into transgressions by the tongue. I just listed four statements that James uses in this passage of the Bible. Almost anyone can figure out that these are very strong words to describe the damage our words can do to ourselves and other people. An entire country can be thrown into confusion by the tongues of people. Over here in America we have a divided nation to the depths I have never personally seen because of constant verbal fights (Tongues).

Demons are very tuned in to promoting bad words. The Apostle James uses the phrase, "And it is set on fire of hell" this was his way of saying the tongue / tongues can produce rage and hatred. This can only serve the purposes of the devil. We are here to serve the purposes of God.

If you do not feel you know the Lord in a personal way now may be a good time to accept Jesus Christ as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. If you just made that decision ask God to show you how to speak Godly words as you travel through life because although the tongue is small it can do big damage. On the other hand you can be a vessel for God by reading the Bible as hearers / doers of the word of God and be a tremendous blessing to others.

God Bless you,
Bob D.