Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:13-15)~~ If we were born naturally evil, that would be like saying God created us evil. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the confusion, worthlessness and rubbish, though His fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their being born that way, or upon their condition in the world, or those who pretend they cannot keep from sinning, incorrectly point at God as if He were the author of sin; as if He made them genetically this way. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is built up in our own hearts but we were not created that way. To Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; both sin and misery are owing to themselves. Besides if this were the case, knowing that the wages of sin is death…and we WERE born naturally evil, we would be saying that God created us with intention of killing us!!
…But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds? ’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this. ’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them? ’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them (Mark 13:25-29)~~ How often do you catch yourself thinking, saying or even asking why does God not just get rid of the evil things and people in the world? Why doesn’t He just put all that “over there somewhere”? Why do we have to deal with hard people, suffer through struggles and have troubles if we are believers of God? Why do WE as His “good children” have to co-exist with the obvious people that could care less about God and His salvation? Why must we live among the troublemakers? I know what Job 14:1 says but if Jesus fixed it, shouldn’t WE just have all greatness in life with no struggle?
Well, here’s food for thought: Though gross transgressions, and those such that openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, no human skill can make an exact separation. Who can REALLY tell other than God Himself? Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and this with meekness!! And even though good and bad are together in this world, and at the great day they shall be parted; then the righteous and the wicked shall be plainly known; here today sometimes it is hard to distinguish between them. We shortchange ourselves by only focusing on gratitude, thanksgiving, and appreciation when things are good, going our way or when we have what we want. We see that which appears good and praise God for it but it is that heart that we cannot see that truly identifies the true good. Don’t just be thankful for what is good, or what you like about your life. Be thankful for everything; good, bad and ugly. There is an abundance of benefit to thankfulness for the hard experiences in life. When you express gratitude in tough times, you force yourself to adopt a mind that is more like Christ and you are becoming more of what God desires for you. How differently would you approach life if you expressed more gratitude than frustration? Final thought, if there were no trials, transgressions and troublemakers around us, what would we have, as overcomers in Him, to shout our praise about?? In EVERY thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Ths 5:18).
We can probably think of common questions that we regularly bring to God and why we ask. But what about the questions that God brings to us? Why would God, who knows all things….ask US a question? Consider the following:
- He asked Adam, “Where art thou?” (Gen 3:9) Sometimes we don’t realize where we are in life and it takes the voice of God to remind us.
- He asked Moses, “What is that that you have in your hand?” (Ex 4:2) Many times the very blessing we need is already in our grasp.
- He asked Malachi, “Will a man rob God?” (Mal 3:8). It’s so easy to give our time to everything but the work of The Lord.
- He asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?”(Ezk 37:3). Sometimes you may think a situation in your life has died, but God is reminding you that it can live. It’s not dead. It’s not over.
- He asked a lame man, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6) God already knows He has the power to deliver you but you need to want to be delivered.
- He asked Abraham, “Is there anything too hard for God?” (Gen 18:14). Think about that as you’re going through life. I don’t care what it looks like. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. There is nothing too hard for God to do!
The Lord, when He asks questions engages us with striking accuracy and exposes our mistaken notions about Him. These questions are as arresting to us today and are as able to penetrate our hearts as they were two-thousand years ago. God’s questions convict us and bring about change in us; they remind us of just who He is and who we are in Him; and they show us that He has already given us what we need to do whatever it is that needs to be done. When God asks a question, He doesn’t ask for Himself. He already knows the answer. He asks us because he wants us to stop and look at ourselves, understand and get the “ answer”. Many times that answer is within us and the blessing is already done. God is strategically altering our direction to it!
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19); Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent (Rev 2:4-5)~~ In today’s world people have become “tolerant” rather than standing up for right vs. wrong! We find ways to accept and make appropriate the worst of shortcomings and claim it in the name of “loving” our fellow man. In turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the intentional disregard for the statute of God’s Word, we turn the truth of God into a lie and manipulate it with man-made laws to fit our own agendas. We decide that rather than following the Way of the Lord as good, that as we indeed make a “law” of it, we define and determine our own good! We don’t deny God, in fact, we do love Him but that love has become lukewarm! We have lost the fervent degree of love that at first appeared. As time progresses, we continue to grow remiss and cold toward Him. The world is becoming overrun with Christians forsaking their first love – the Lord, while overly accommodating lawlessness and carelessness, and excusing indifference and sloth in themselves and others; our Savior considers this indifference as sinful.
Indifference as to truth and error, good and evil, may be called charity and meekness, but it is not so; and it is displeasing to Christ. The Christian life is a warfare against sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh. Though we must show all meekness to all men, we must also show just zeal against their sins. While we must deal with everyone in Godly love, it it just as important that we stand on His Word in regard to true and divine righteousness. We must repent: we must be grieved and ashamed for our sinful declining, and humbly confess it in the sight of God. We must endeavor to recover our first zeal, tenderness, and seriousness, and must pray as earnestly, and watch as diligently, as when we first set out in the ways of God. If the presence of Christ’s grace and Spirit is slighted, we may expect the presence of His displeasure.
We must never yield to our spiritual enemies: tolerance, acceptance and indifference. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor 15:58). We must remain true to Him and while respecting each other in Love we must not let this cloud our faith, interpretation and sound execution of Godly Wisdom. We must not grow numb to the love and truth of God while endearing worldly philosophies. All who persevere, shall derive from Christ, as the Tree of life, perfection and confirmation in holiness and happiness, not in the earthly paradise, but in the heavenly. The Lord has given us victory through HIS battle. We have been set free by the finished work of Christ and are no longer bound by the imprisonment of sin and the enemy. Our reasonable stance then should be the relentless endeavor toward His glory!
To God be the Glory – Amen!
…Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s; Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord… (2Chr 20:15,17)~~ So often we feel like parts of our lives are crashing down on us. We are overwhelmed by the trials and troubles we face. We forget that even as devoted Christians we are subject to troubles in our lives (Job 14:1). But what we must also remember in this life that is surely to have its uncertainties is that God is always there standing in for us… ensuring the victory. NO one else would…even if they could… go so far as to even come and get you out of hell and in fact go there in your place! Rather than get all worked up because of the fears of what might happen as we consider the magnitude of our trials, we must never forget the unmatched power of our God! He will step in and fix it all without you ever having to lift a finger or even say a word. He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him and trust in Him. Some battles and trials are not for you to resolve but to trust that He will! When you turn it over to Him truly, your peace will be in great abundance as God intends. Remember – He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly! That’s not about material things, but the life and peace and joy that HE GIVES. Friend, don’t fight the battle before you take it to Him! Don’t worry about what hasn’t happened yet but trust in what HE will make happen for you… And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts (Ex 33:21-23). As He sets you high upon a rock out of the reach of your (HIS) enemy, covering you by His hand from even a scratch, stand still and be completely silent…. and see the work of His glorious salvation as He goes before you! May your life be at great peace…in Him!
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps 118:24)~~ Fear mongers, proponents of negativity, and preachers of doom and gloom would have us live in a very different world. There are those that want everyone to see only the bad in the world and scare people into a certain type of belief and mindset. They point out all of the dangers and problems and worries and would have us all afraid to even seek a peaceful life. It’s all too easy to focus on the storms of life and worship at the altar of fear. It’s easy to forget that storms come and go, but dreams can last forever…that peaceful life begins with our own actions and faith! See, Fear is a coward that flees in the face of positive action, and it doesn’t take much action to make it happen. There’s no reason to ever allow fear to dominate your life because the smallest amount of positive action will send fear packing. An ounce of action is more powerful that a megaton of fear. So with that we should rejoice and be glad in each day; not only that such a day is given in new mercies every morning, but in the mere occasion of it. Too often we wake up complaining about the day and what may be wrong or uncomfortable or undesirable in our lives. Our days ought to be rejoicing days, first of all, because God didn’t HAVE to let us BE in it. We didn’t HAVE to be allowed our great blessings! God let our souls prosper and be in health, in that peace and righteousness which His government brings. He let us have victory over the lusts that war against our souls; and let Divine grace subdue our hearts. The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light; not the gloom and melancholy the cares of the world would have you believe. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth; the sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar as our sins deserve, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar; spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service (Rom 12:1). Stop complaining.. You control the direction of your day with your attitude and it’s the least you could do!
Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end (Prov 25:8-10)~ Isn’t it interesting that the person that loves to ‘call people out’ ends up being the one getting the “side-eye” from everyone else as the truly shameful person? What good does it really do to go after a person and publicly humiliate them for some offense? Your efforts to make them look bad are actually casting a negative shadow on you! Why create all that drama?? All it does is fuel the fire even though in the moment it seems to feel vindicating. Conflict and strife are parts of life in a sinful world. They evoke strong passions, which cause us to rush to action. Some of us pride ourselves in being direct or outspoken or passionate. But a passionate response is usually a poor response. It is better to let passions cool before taking any action. The mind is usually not fully engaged, when the heart is pounding and the emotions are raging. Cool off first, before you do anything or even plan anything. Otherwise, unless you are very careful, small conflicts will escalate quickly into much larger levels of strife. Kings go to battle slowly. Jesus said, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace” (Luke 14:31-32). Let this all be a lesson to us: If you have ever slept on a conflict, with a mind toward fearing God and loving wisdom, you woke in the morning with a very different perspective than what you went to bed with. This is wisdom. By allowing some time to pass, your passions cooled, your mind had time to clear foolish emotions, and the Holy Spirit could direct you. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord (Rom 12:19). Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).