VIDEO Submit and Resist

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:7-8

The laws of physics say that two different objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. We could also say that God and Satan cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Or, we cannot submit to God and Satan at the same time. In the words of James 4:7-8, if we are submitted to God, we are resisting the devil. If we submit to God and resist the devil, the devil must flee from us.

The Bible restates this principle of God’s superiority in different ways. First John 4:4 says, “[God] who is in you is greater than [Satan] who is in the world.” And Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Satan cannot stand against us. All of this is to say, God is greater than the tempter. When we submit to God, He is able to deliver us from the evil one who seeks our allegiance through temptation.

When you are tempted, stop and affirm your submission to God. When you do so, the tempter must flee. And you are delivered.

To realize God’s presence is the one sovereign remedy against temptation. François Fénelon


27 Exhortations – James 4:6-8 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Heavy but Hopeful

Lord, you are the God who saves me. Psalm 88:1

In a Peanuts comic strip, the very enterprising character Lucy advertised “psychiatric help” for five cents. Charlie Brown found his way to her office and acknowledged his “deep feelings of depression.” When he asked her what he could do about his condition, Lucy’s quick reply was, “Snap out of it! Five cents, please.”

While such lighthearted entertainment brings a momentary smile, the sadness and gloom that can grip us when real life happens is not that easily dismissed. Feelings of hopelessness and despair are real, and sometimes professional attention is needed.

Lucy’s advice wasn’t helpful in addressing real anguish. However, the writer of Psalm 88 does offer something instructive and hopeful. A truckload of trouble had arrived at his doorstep. And so, with raw honesty, he poured out his heart to God. “I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death” (v. 3). “You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths” (v. 6). “Darkness is my closest friend” (v. 18). We hear, feel, and perhaps identify with the psalmist’s pain. Yet, that’s not all. His lament is laced with hope. “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry” (vv. 1–2; see vv. 9, 13). Heavy things do come and practical steps such as counsel and medical care may be needed. But never abandon hope in God.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

When have you turned to God in the midst of your despair? What’s keeping you from crying out to Him now?

Father, help me to see Your open, welcome arms regardless of my situation.

Walking in the Word

Psalm 119:97-104

We make a lot of decisions on any given day. And when a choice is needed quickly, we don’t always have time to weigh the pros and cons. Many people simply “go with their gut,” but believers who desire to walk wisely through the perils of this world require something more reliable than natural instinct. We need godly knowledge and principles to guide us, which is why we must make meditation on the Word a daily habit. 

We all have a sort of filter in our mind. It’s made up of the principles we were taught as children, the habits we’ve formed, and the information we accept as true. New knowledge coming our way passes through that matrix and is either assimilated or rejected. A mental filter reinforced with biblical truth is essential for Christians because it identifies things that align with God’s Word and rejects whatever is sinful, deceptive, unwise, or otherwise harmful for us.

Since Scripture is the key to knowing God and following His will, we can’t afford to neglect it. If you want clarity on His perspective, go to the Bible and fill your mind with the truth that guides and guards.

God Is Triune

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)

The foundational plank of Israel’s worship was Deuteronomy 6:4—“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Even the great apostle James acknowledged, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).

Some have suggested that the Old Testament does not teach the Trinity and that the New Testament is making a “god” out of Jesus to foster the new religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both sections present the triune God.

The Father is named in Malachi 2:10: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” Jesus Himself insisted that we pray to the Father. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).

The Son is clearly declared in both Testaments. “The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and the apostle Paul insisted that the Lord Jesus was “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

The Holy Spirit is hardly a stranger to both Testaments. King David knew that “the Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). And as the Lord Jesus was preparing to go back to the Father, He promised that “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

This much is clear: There is one God, who is manifested to us in three Persons. HMM III

A New Race

Matthew 8:23-27

THREE times the phrase “What manner of…?” is used in the New Testament, with meanings very precious to us. In Matthew 8:23-27 our Lord, asleep in a boat and awakened by His disciples when a storm arose, rebuked the waves and then His disciples for their lack of faith. They marveled, saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Indeed, a new kind of man came to earth in Jesus Christ! None other has ever lived and spoken and died and risen like Him. A new race began with Jesus Christ. He was Son of Man and Son of God, the Word made flesh, Emmanuel. The old race was a failure, and so God chose Israel as the channel for a new Adam. The first Adam was innocent; the new Adam was perfect, sinless. The world has marveled through the ages concerning Christ, “What manner of man is this?” But the world has not seen that He is the Adam of a new race—not merely a teacher, a prophet, but a new man, a God-man. In this light, it is no wonder that He was virgin-born. How could it have been otherwise? The very facts demand it!

But had Christ stood alone, and had there been no way that we could enter into this truth, it would not help us at all to contemplate Him. So the word goes on to say: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). Thank God, I may be a member of this new race! That is the meaning of the new birth. Christ is not an isolated phenomenon in the course of history. He was the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). I may be a brother with Him in the new race, born from above through faith in Him. I cannot take out naturalization papers and get into it. Nicodemus was a religious man, but even he must be born again. The reason why we have so much trouble with some church members is because they never have become members of God’s family. They still belong to their father the devil, and the desires of their father they will do, so they are a problem when they get into a church. You can know what to do with your own family members, but when a neighbor’s boy or girl comes over you may find yourself at a loss regarding him or her.

When I trust Christ as Savior I enter a new race with God my Father and Jesus my elder brother, and I am saved that I might be conformed to the image of God’s Son. So it is logical to consider another occurrence of the phrase with which we started: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Pet. 3:11). That reminds us of the last part of 1 John 3:1: “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” Does the world know you? Too many professing Christians are better known to the world than to the church. Arguing about gambling, dancing, etc., often proceeds on a mistaken basis. There is just one thing that forever settles such things: they simply don’t belong to the family of God. Born-again Christians do not practice sin because “His seed remaineth” in us, and we cannot sin because we are born of God (1 John 3:9). I believe in this kind of family pride!

But the reason here given is that we are in the last days and should behave accordingly. We do not belong to the world. May we live in keeping with our new family name!

The Three Elements of Fear

In God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?—Psalm 56:4

Many people, some Christians included, see death as an intruder. Gandhi, the great Indian leader and politician, said that he started his Swaraj movement to help people overcome the fear of death. Politics was only a minor part of his purpose. “My aim,” he said, “was the abandonment of the fear of death. So long as we let ourselves be influenced by the fear of death, we can never attain freedom.”

When we come to analyze the fear of death, three elements can be seen to be present: the fear of the physical act of dying, the fear of finality, and the fear of judgment. Let’s look first at the fear of the physical act of dying. This is very real to some people. Perhaps they have suffered and know, through bitter experience, how pain lacerates and hurts.

Doctors assure us that what people normally call “the agony of death” is felt much more by those who are watching than by the one who is passing away. Sir Frederick Treves, the eminent surgeon, said: “A last illness may be long, wearisome and painful, but the closing moments of it are, as a rule, free from suffering. There may appear to be a terrible struggle at the end, but of this struggle the subject is unconscious. It is the onlooker who bears the misery of it.” Add to this natural phenomenon the supporting power of God’s never-failing grace, and it is possible to look even this physical aspect of death quietly in the face and say, “My enemy—you are not really the terror that you seem.”

Prayer

Lord Jesus, You who are Master of life and death, I am so grateful that in You I see the death of death and the defeat of defeat. In You everything is alive—alive with meaning, destiny, goal—alive forevermore. Hallelujah!

Further Study

Isa 43:2-3; 1Co 15:1-21; Jn 11:11; Ac 13:36

Of what is Christ the firstfruits?

What is the difference between sleep and death?

Seedtime and Harvest

Galatians 6:7

Seedtime and harvest. They are inseparably linked, but always occurring at different times and under differing conditions. Seedtime speaks to us of the spring, while harvest speaks to us of the fall. Springtime is fertility; autumn is fruition. The inexorable springtime and autumn, seedtime and harvest, point to a vindication of faith in the process of natural growth which fulfills God’s purpose and promises.

Who is the mastermind who can define the process which transforms a black, ugly, twisted mass of autumn roots into the roses of springtime? Who can explain how a seed falls into the bosom of springtime and dies, only to reproduce itself a thousand times in the golden grain of harvest?

Springtime and harvest, uncompromising, follow the law of identical harvest. If the earth receives seeds of wheat, the harvest will be wheat. If corn is received, the harvest will be corn. The law of identical harvest says that one reaps what one sows. Whatever you put into the ground, into your body, into your mind, into your heart—is what you will get back.

I have heard advice given to young people today that all should have the opportunity to “sow their wild oats.” Personally, I am not too attracted to wild oats, and I find this kind of thinking to be fallacious double-talk. Instead, these young people should hear that if one chooses to sow wild oats, one must bear the responsibility of reaping them as well. The law of identical harvest is: what we plant, we reap.

Every person continually sows and plants. Each of us puts seeds of one kind or another into the ground of our character by the choices we make. The seeds dictate the nature of the harvest. In the holy presence of God one must examine the nature of seeds already planted and find ways to pluck them from our lives.

God is not mocked. What we plant is what we reap. We get back more than what we put into life, whether it be good or evil. What seeds are we sowing in our life? Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “The test of any person is does he bear fruit. Is he fruitful?”

So what will the harvest be in your life? My father once wrote: “Let us plant the memories, the traditions of yesterday; let us water them with our tears and warm them with the sunshine of devotion and service, and may God grant to us a rich harvest of souls.” Those are the seeds we must all sow and the harvest we must all seek.

Robert L. Docter, The Salvationist Pulpit