April 28, 2014
When I was a small child, I always wanted to be near my Father, because I knew that he loved me, and that he would protect me. When I put my small hand into his big hand and we walked somewhere, I always felt secure and safe. When he hugged me I knew all was right with the world.
Now that I am a child of God, I want God to be so close that I can feel the warmth of His embrace. I want God to be so close that I can put my small hand into His infinite hand and I want to walk and talk with Him.
What is so amazing about our God is that He wants to be close to us as well. He wants to walk and talk with us in the cool of the afternoon as He did with Adam and Eve. The Bible tells us that there is a great gulf fixed between man and God, yet God has taken the initiative on this side of the grave. In an act of infinite compassion God has come looking for us because we are lost. God has sent His Son Jesus Christ to be the bridge that can bring us to God.
God has come as far as He can. He stops short of violating the human will. He stands at the edge of the bridge with arms outstretched and says Come! Come! Come!
In our lesson today, James tells us how to draw near to God. How it is possible to have a personal, up-close, relationship with the almighty Creator of all things.
April 14, 2014
When we think about the term worldliness we think of the envy and strife that exists in our secular lives. Political parties split, and one group becomes pitted against another. As management and labor meet around the conference table, there is a battle going on. In the corporate world there are climbers on the corporate ladder who are stepping on the hands of others as they go up. In our neighborhoods, one family does not speak to another family. Within families there are quarrels, brother against brother.
When a church allows worldliness to enter its doors, the characteristics of the world become evident in the church. The envy and strife that exists in the world are displayed within the church. The symptoms of a worldly church are divisions, conflict, power struggles, and open warfare among its members.
Worldliness can be exhibited from both the pulpit and the pew. It can pray with self-righteous eloquence. It can find triumph in the middle of a deacon’s meeting. It can take over a trustee’s meeting. It can split churches over the color of the carpet, or a building program. It will begin in a fight over who to ordain to its ministry, who can become a church member, or who can be baptized. All are topics that can destroy the fellowship and evangelistic efforts of the church.
Listen to this podcast to learn that symptoms of worldliness are evidence of a problem that lies much deeper. It lies within the heart of the church member.
What is the answer to worldliness? Prayer. Personal prayer, properly performed, can reveal the worldliness in our hearts and can cleanse it. James teaches us the secret of obtaining an answered prayer from the almighty, living, God who tells us that we have not because we ask not.
April 7, 2014
If you were to list the characteristics of Jesus as He lived on the earth you would probably use words like, peacemaker, gentle, easy to approach, merciful, pure, unbiased, and without hypocrisy. These are the characteristics of God’s wisdom, and they are the characteristics that a true Christian is to exhibit as they deal with those around them.
When someone makes Jesus Christ their Lord and Master, they are reborn and regenerated, they become a new person, and with the power of the Holy Spirit working through them these characteristics become the way a believer will behave. It is the evidence that a revolution has occurred in that person’s life, and that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Master.
Being a Christian is more than just saying a prayer and mumbling some words. We are saved by God’s grace, we do not work for our salvation, but our lives must show the evidence of the transformation that has occurred in our life. The words we say, the works that we produce, the way we control our tongue, and the way we deal with those around us are the evidence of the salvation that has occurred within our lives and they identify the Master of our hearts.
Listen to this podcast to learn how God’s wisdom is to shine through the life of a believer to such a degree that the world sees a positive difference in their lives. Your behavior is your trademark as a Christian.