Devotional Thought for Today – 06/10/2021

James 2:13 | Insights From Tom

JAMES 2

CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: All professions of faith are vain, if not producing love and justice to others. (1-13) The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith, which otherwise will be of no more advantage than the faith of devils. (14-26)

Our text for today comes at the end of the first theme of James Chapter 2. We find the stage set if you will in v.1 show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery] the chapter then goes on v.2-7 to describe situations that may arise when one might be tempted to discriminate. James then goes on in v.8-12 to note other areas where believers might fail.

Understanding our text requires two key points first it does not mean that those who do not show mercy are condemned to hell. Romans 8:1 and other similar verses settled that issue forever.

What it does mean is those FULLY committed to Christ will show mercy just like Christ. If you have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit it is pretty difficult to resist that call to be merciful. We (believers) are going to be surrounded by sin daily; our own, fellow Christians, and for certain non-believers. What kind of testimony would we have if we went around condemning everyone?

Let me be clear about this, we should be discerning (judgmental) as to the sin of others and ourselves. We need to be protective of our property and families while at the same time as Paul emphasized to the Church in Colossae C.3; 12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive.

The following Devotional may be of help:

Commended or Condemned?

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

God commends merciful people but condemns the merciless.

Scripture shows that those whom God blessed most abundantly were abundantly merciful to others. Abraham, for example, helped rescue his nephew Lot even after Lot had wronged him. Joseph was merciful to his brothers after they sold him into slavery. Twice David spared Saul’s life after Saul tried to kill him.

But just as sure as God’s commendation is upon those who show mercy, His condemnation is upon those who are merciless. Psalm 109:14-16 says, “Let the iniquity of [the merciless person’s] fathers be remembered before the Lord, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out . . . because he did not remember to show [mercy].”

When judgment comes, the Lord will tell such people, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me” (Matt. 25:41-43). They will respond, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?” (v. 44). He will reply that when they withheld mercy from those who represented Him, they were withholding it from Him (v. 45).

Our society encourages us to grab everything we can for ourselves, but God wants us to reach out and give everything we can to others. If someone wrongs you, fails to repay a debt, or doesn’t return something he has borrowed from you, be merciful to him. That doesn’t mean you excuse sin, but you respond to people with a heart of compassion. That’s what Christ did for you—can you do any less for others?

Suggestions for Prayer

If there is someone who has wronged you, pray for that person, asking God to give you a heart of compassion for him or her. Make every effort to reconcile as soon as possible.

For Further Study

Read Romans 1:29-31. How did Paul characterize the ungodly?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/08/2021

James 1:22 (ESV) - James 1:22 ESV - But be doers of the word,… | Biblia

James 1

I have written or posted about this verse more than once over the years (see below) primarily because I believe the Bible is true and as such 1 Peter 4:10 demands I take action.

Of course, as always context is critical, this past Saturday’s Devotional has the chapter breakdown from Matthew Henry’s commentary. One thing to point out is v.21, James through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes, So get rid of all uncleanness and [e]all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. (AMP)

God has plans for and expects the humble of heart to be the doers of His Word, what about you?


OTHER RESOURCES:

Sunday Sermon Series – Hearers

Daily Devotional – Couch Potato Christian

Failing to Do It!

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Being a Doer of the Word

“Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

A doer of the Word obeys what Scripture says.

Effective Bible study is built on three key questions: What does the Bible say? What does it mean? How does it apply to my life? Each of those questions is important, but applying the Word must always be the highest goal. Knowledge without application is useless.

Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize the importance of applying Scripture. For example, just prior to leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua received this message from God: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:8). That’s a command to be a doer of the Word—one who receives, studies, and understands Scripture, then applies it to every aspect of his or her life. That was the key to Joshua’s amazing success.

James 1:22 is a New Testament counterpart to Joshua 1:8 and is directed to every believer: “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” It’s not enough to hear the Word; you must also do what it says.

The phrase “doer of the word” doesn’t refer to the person who obeys periodically, but the one who habitually and characteristically obeys. It’s one thing to run in a race; it’s something else to be a runner. It’s one thing to teach a class; it’s something else to be a teacher. Runners are known for running; teachers are known for teaching—it’s characteristic of their lives. Similarly, doers of the Word are known for their obedience to biblical truth.

Never be content to be a hearer of the Word only, but prove yourself a doer in the Christian life. Your claim to love Christ will mean something only if you obey what He says.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Joshua 1:8 and pray regularly that God will make you a faithful doer of the Word.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 1.

  • What are the benefits of delighting in God’s law?
  • How does the psalmist characterize those who reject righteousness?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/05/2021

James 1:19–20 (ESV) - James 1:19–20 ESV - Know this, my beloved… | Biblia
https://images.app.goo.gl/edKpMuf2ETcJ92EW6

James 1

CONTEXT: Matthew Henry says of this book and specifically this chapter: This epistle of James is one of the most instructive writings in the New Testament. Being chiefly directed against particular errors at that time brought in among the Jewish Christians, it does not contain the same full doctrinal statements as the other epistles, but it presents an admirable summary of the practical duties of all believers...How to apply to God under troubles, and how to behave in prosperous and in adverse circumstances. (1-11) To look upon all evil as proceeding from ourselves, and all good from God. (12-18) The duty of watching against a rash temper, and of receiving the word of God with meekness. (19-21) And of living according to thereto. (22-25) The difference between vain pretenses and real religion. (26,27)

Over the years I have written many times about anger, like many of my fellow ex-military, it is an issue I have long dealt with and writing helps remind me of the futility of angry outbursts.

Instead of more of my words here is a devotional on the matter by John MacArthur:

Be Slow to Anger

“Let everyone be . . . slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

If you resent God’s Word, you cannot grow in righteousness.

Have you ever started reading your Bible, thinking everything was fine between you and the Lord, only to have the Word suddenly cut deep into your soul to expose some sin you had neglected or tried to hide? That commonly happens because God seeks to purge sin in His children. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to penetrate the hidden recesses of the heart to do His convicting and purifying work. How you respond to that process is an indicator of the genuineness of your faith.

“Anger” in James 1:19-20 refers to a negative response to that process. It is a deep internal resentment accompanied by an attitude of rejection. Sometimes that resentment can be subtle. Paul described those who “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim. 4:3). They’re the people who drift from church to church in search of someone who will tell them what they want to hear—or a congregation that wants a pastor who will make them feel good about themselves instead of preaching the Word and setting a high standard of holiness.

Sometimes resentment toward the Word ceases to be subtle and turns to open hostility. That happened when the crowd Stephen confronted covered their ears, drove him out of the city, and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-60). Countless others throughout history have felt the fatal blows of those whose resentment of God’s truth turned to hatred for His people.

Receiving the Word includes being quick to hear what it says and slow to anger when it disagrees with your opinions or confronts your sin. Is that your attitude? Do you welcome its reproof and heed its warnings, or do you secretly resent it? When a Christian brother or sister confronts a sin in your life, do you accept or reject their counsel?

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the power of His Word to convict you and drive you to repentance. Welcome its correction with humility and thanksgiving.

For Further Study

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5, noting the charge Paul gave to Timothy and his reason for giving it

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.


Here are some other posts on Anger:

Christian Reflections on Anger

Overcoming 5 Types of Anger

Dealing with Anger? Meditating on Bible Verses from Proverbs

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part IV

Devotional Thought for Today – 05/15/2021

Logos.com

1 Peter 2

As I have been riding across the US I see signs of COVID restrictions lifting in some areas and not so much in others. Mainly I am speaking of wearing a mask, some fuel stops and store have signs that say “Mask Required” other have none. The other thing I found interesting was the level of folks so willing to ignore these business owner’s practices yet demand to be served.

On at least two occasions when clerks asked someone to “please mask up” because it was local policy” they were met with a flurry of curse words. One such individual had a little fish symbol on the back of their truck as they sped away.

Christian behavior, I think not, I personally HATE these mask mandates, I think they are stupid and science does not support them. That being said, nothing that these local stores are doing goes against the Word of God, and as our text above notes, my job is quite simple. Follow the rules or go somewhere else.

Submission to authority is a hard pill for many “Christians” to swallow these days, but it one that the Bible is quite clear we must until it violates the law of God.

So how do we express our displeasure with the current mask mandates and other seemingly totalitarian government rules? John MacArthur’s Devotional for today has an answer:


The world doesn’t need another opinion—it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

Speaking the Truth in Love (John)

The twelve apostles included “John” (Matt. 10:2).

Seek to maintain a proper balance between truth and love

Some people picture John as overly sentimental and egotistical, lying with his head on Jesus’ shoulder and constantly referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. But that’s not an accurate characterization of one of the “Son of thunder”! He loved Jesus deeply and was amazed that Jesus loved him—especially after he wanted to burn up the Samaritans and then secure a prominent place for himself in Christ’s kingdom. Calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., John 21:20) was simply his way of marvelling over God’s grace in his life.

As much as he loved Jesus, John never allowed his love to deteriorate into mere sentimentalism. In fact, the proper balance between truth and love is the hallmark of his ministry. In his writings we find the word love more than eighty times and witness nearly seventy times. His profound love for Christ compelled him to be a teacher of love and a witness to the truth. To him, obedience to the truth was the highest expression of love. As 1 John 2:5 says, “Whoever keeps [God’s] word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

John’s greatest joy was to know that his spiritual children were walking in the truth (3 John 4). He firmly denounced anyone who attempted to divert them from that goal by denying or distorting God’s Word.

Today, media talk shows and other influences have blurred the lines between opinion and truth. One man’s opinion is purported to be as good as the next, and there’s little talk about what’s right or wrong.

Truth suffers even within the church because many Christians are willing to compromise it to avoid upsetting people. They forget that true love flourishes only in the atmosphere of biblical truth (Phil. 1:9).

Amid such confusion, God calls you to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The world doesn’t need another opinion—it needs God’s absolute and authoritative Word!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the gift of His love and the power of His truth. Ask Him to make you a person of ever-increasing biblical integrity.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 2:1-7.

  • What strengths did the church at Ephesus have?
  • What did it lack?
  • What did Jesus require of it?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for Today – 05/11/2021

Matthew 28:18-20

In its simplest terms, evangelism means to announce or proclaim the “Good News.” Evangelism is NOT about:

  • Your personal testimony
  • Inviting someone to church
  • It is not social gatherings or entertainment
  • It is not apologetics or defending Biblical truths

Evangelism is all about Christ and what He did on Calvary for the redemption of sinners.

  • It is about communicating the Gospel
  • It is about relying on the work of the Holy Spirit to convict people
  • It is not about asking God, it about accepting God’s free invitation of Grace
  • It is not about people it is always about God and His Glory

In my study this morning I found there are books describing up to eight (8) types and methods of evangelism. Seriously, folks, the Bible gives us all we need in one method/type, it says share Christ and Him crucified. All this movement towards what is current in the world is the WRONG direction for the church. We are told NOWHERE in the Bible to bring the world into the church, we are however told to go forth into the world.


Leading Others to Christ (Andrew)

The twelve apostles included “Andrew” (Matt. 10:2).

Leading others to Christ should be a top priority in your life.

Andrew was Peter’s brother and a native of Bethsaida of Galilee. From the very start we see him leading people to Christ—beginning with his own brother.

The gospel of John records his first encounter with Jesus: “John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples (Andrew and John), and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. . . . One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (John 1:35-37, 40-42). Later Jesus called both Andrew and Peter to become His disciples, and they immediately left their fishing nets to follow Him (Matt. 4:20).

Our next glimpse of Andrew is in John 6:8-9. It was late in the day and thousands of people who were following Jesus were beginning to get hungry, but there wasn’t enough food to feed them. Then Andrew brought to Jesus a young boy with five barley loaves and two fish. From that small lunch Jesus created enough food to feed the entire crowd!

Andrew also appears in John 12:20-22, which tells of some Greeks who were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. They came to Philip and requested to see Jesus. Philip took them to Andrew, who apparently took them to Jesus.

Andrew didn’t always know how Jesus would deal with a particular person or situation, but he kept right on bringing them to Him anyway. That’s a characteristic every believer should have. Your spiritual gifts might differ from others, but your common goal is to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20), and that begins with leading sinners to Christ. Make that your priority today!

Suggestions for Prayer

When was the last time you told an unbeliever about Jesus? Pray for an opportunity to do so soon.

For Further Study

Do you know how to present the gospel clearly and accurately? As a review read Romans 3:19-28, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:4-7.