VIDEO God Is the God of Everything Good – James

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Without the Scriptures, we would have a hard time reconciling two things: our avowal that God is good and the fact that bad things happen in the world. If God is truly good, why is there evil in the world?

First, God is good. Psalm 145:17 says, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.” A God who is always righteous could not be the author of evil. James says that God is not tempted to do evil Himself, nor does He tempt us to do evil (James 1:13). In fact, He sends sunlight and rain for everyone, the just and unjust alike (Matthew 5:44-45). Second, God only allows evil in the world for a time. The clearest example is God allowing Satan to send suffering upon Job and his family (Job 1–2). Satan was constrained by God’s purpose and permission—and by His goodness He restored blessings to Job’s family.

If you see or experience evil in the world, don’t be tempted to blame God. Instead, pray for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Times are bad, God is good.  Richard Sibbes


James: The Brother of Our Lord

Trust Your Armor

Go, and the Lord be with you. 1 Samuel 17:37

 

As a young writer I was often unsure of myself when I was in writing workshops. I would look around and see rooms filled with giants, if you will—people with formal training or years of experience. I had neither. But what I did have was an ear formed by the language and tone and cadences of the King James Version of the Bible. It was very much my armor, so to speak, what I was used to, and allowing it to inform my writing style and voice has become a joy to me, and I hope to others.

We don’t get the impression that David the young shepherd was unsure of himself when it came to wearing Saul’s armor to fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17:38–39). He simply couldn’t move around in it. David realized one man’s armor can be another man’s prison—“I cannot go in these” (v. 39). So he trusted what he knew. God had prepared him for that moment with just what was needed (vv. 34–35). The sling and stones were what David was used to, his armor, and God used them to bring joy to the ranks of Israel that day.

Have you ever felt unsure of yourself, thinking If I just had what someone else has, then my life would be different? Consider the gifts or experiences God has given specifically to you. Trust your God-given armor.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

What’s an example of someone else’s armor that’s been a matter of comparison or even jealousy for you? How might your armor be just what’s needed for this day?

Sovereign God, at times it’s easy to feel unsure of myself, especially in situations where challenges feel like giants. Help me to trust that You’ve given me just what I need. You’ve crafted my life’s story.

Prayer in Times of Inadequacy

Nehemiah 2:1-10

Nehemiah’s heart was burdened when he heard about the desperate condition of the exiled Jews who had returned to Jerusalem (Neh. 1:3-4). Once the Lord had Nehemiah’s attention, He could reveal what He wanted the man to do.

Scripture doesn’t spell out Nehemiah’s reaction on realizing that he was to be a part of the solution, but we can imagine that a sense of inadequacy probably engulfed him. How could he possibly help? He wasn’t even near Jerusalem, and as a servant of the king, he didn’t have the freedom to just pack up and leave.

But whenever the Lord puts a burden on our heart, He will open a door for us to accomplish His will. In this case, God used Nehemiah’s sad expression and desperate prayer to prepare a pagan king to send him on the mission.

How do you respond when you sense the Lord is calling you to a task that seems beyond your abilities? Do you list all the reasons why you can’t possibly do it? God already knows everything about you and the situation. He’s not asking your permission to proceed; rather, He is calling you to move forward with faith in Him. You can refuse, but you risk missing out on the blessings of a life lived in obedience to Him.

The Lord will equip you for whatever He calls you to do. And because the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer, we have everything we need to fulfill our divine mission. Instead of allowing inadequacy to deter you from obeying, let it drive you to your knees so you can depend on God’s insight and power.

Put First Things First

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

There are innumerable things to do and things to buy and things to read. How does one choose between them? An important guideline is the use of the word “first” in the New Testament. For example, consider the following priority items.

Priority in awareness: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers . . . saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for . . . all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4). The primary intellectual heresy of these latter times is the anti-God philosophy of naturalistic evolutionism, as succinctly outlined in this passage.

Priority in behavior: “Cleanse first that which is within the cup and the platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26). The thoughts of our hearts will inevitably control the words on our lips and the works of our hands.

Priority in giving: “[They] first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5). One’s possessions, talents, time, and all other resources belong to the Lord, but such gifts are acceptable to God only when offered by one whose heart first has been given fully to Him.

Priority in witness: “For I delivered unto you first of all . . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Priority in concern: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Finally, as the Lord Jesus Himself has commanded, our first priority in every decision should be to do that which honors the kingdom of Christ and His righteousness. HMM

Having No Past at All!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; be—hold, all things are become new.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

In our churches we often sing, “Arise, my soul, arise! Shake off thy guilty fears.” But nothing happens and we keep our fears. Why do we claim on one hand that our sins are gone and on the other act just as though they are not gone?

Brethren, we have been declared “Not Guilty!” by the highest court in all the universe. Still there are honest Christians, earnestly seeking the face of God, who cannot seem to break loose and find real freedom. The grave clothes trip them up every time they try to move on a little faster. Satan uses their past sins to terrify them.

Now, on the basis of grace as taught in the Word of God, when God forgives a man, He trusts him as though he had never sinned. God did not have mental reservations about any of us when we became His children by faith. When God forgives a man, He doesn’t think, I will have to watch this fellow because he has a bad record. No, He starts with him again as though he had just been created and as if there had been no past at all! That is the basis of our Christian assurance—and God wants us to be happy in it.   ITB006-007

Thank You, Father, for that glorious freedom of forgiveness. Thank You for Your marvelous grace. No past at all! What a wonderful, incomprehensible truth! I humbly and joyfully worship You this morning. Amen.

 

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High: to show forth Thy loving kindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.—Psalm 92:1, 2.

 

Praise to the Holiest in the height, And in the depth be praise, In all His words most wonderful, Most sure in all His ways.

John Henry Newman.

 

If our hearts were tuned to praise, we should see causes unnumbered, which we had never seen before, for thanking God. Thanksgiving is spoken of as a “sacrifice well pleasing unto God.” It is a far higher offering than prayer. When we pray we ask for things which we want; or we tell out our sorrows. We pray in order to bring down blessings upon ourselves; we praise, because our hearts overflow with love to God, and we must speak it out to Him. It flows out of pure love, and then the love goes back to our hearts, and warms them anew, and revives and quickens them.

Priscilla Maurice.

 

Learn the lesson of thanksgiving. It is due to God, it is due to ourselves. Thanksgiving for the past makes us trustful in the present and hopeful for the future. What He has done is the pledge of what He will do.

A. C. A. Hall.

 

Do God’s Bidding

“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.” Micah 5:7

If this be true of the literal Israel, much more is it true of the spiritual Israel, the believing people of God. When saints are what they should be, they are an incalculable blessing to those among whom they are scattered.

They are as the dew; for in a quiet, unobtrusive manner they refresh those around them. Silently but effectually they minister to the life, growth, and joy of those who dwell with them. Coming fresh from Heaven, glistening like diamonds in the sun, gracious men and women attend to the feeble and insignificant till each blade of grass has its own drop of dew. Little as individuals, they are, when united, all-sufficient for the purposes of love which the Lord fulfills through them. Dewdrops accomplish the refreshing of broad acres. Lord, make us like the dew!

Godly people are as showers which come at God’s bidding without man’s leave and license. They work for God whether men desire it or not; they no more ask human permission than the rain does. Lord, make us thus boldly prompt, and free in thy service wherever our lot is cast.