Friday, December 30, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Living a Holy Life

Read 1 Peter 3:16-17

“Having a good conscience” means that no one can accuse you of wrong doing because you don’t do wrong. We CAN walk a holy walk. In Lev. 20:7, God told the people to sanctify themselves, and be holy; for he is a holy god- the only true ad holy God. Peter instructs the people to be holy in all manner of conversation because it is written, “be ye holy; for I am holy”. So it has been possible to live a holy life in the old and new testaments and there have been those who have: Enoch, Elisha, Daniel, John, Stephen, to name a few. Living a holy life doesn’t mean that you never make a mistake, it just means that you keep your heart pure by reading God’s Word and having an active relationship with the Holy Spirit. If you lead this holy life then you can be blameless of accusations and be free to live. People can accuse us all they want but God knows if it is true. If it isn’t then we don’t have to worry about clearing our names or fighting defensively: God will do that for us. Jesus was falsely accused of so many things that it finally earned him the cross. But God fought for him and through the cross we gained eternal life with God. We all get eternal life, but some will be tormented and some blessed. I’d rather spend my eternity being in the presence of God and ever growing in wisdom and knowledge of God and his ways.

Lord, help us to live a holy life that gives you honor and makes you smile.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - The Christian Walk

Read 1 Pet. 3:8-15

Peter tells us to be “all of one mind”. We will not always agree on everything but what we do agree with is the standard that Jesus was sent by god to earth to be our Savior. If that is our basic belief then we are one. We are to reach out to each other in compassion, love each other, be sympathetic, and kind. We are to bless those that are mean and speak evil of us. We are all called to blessings. If we want to love life and be blessed ourselves then we need to watch our conversation that we not speak negatively about anyone. We are to speck truth wrapped in compassion and love. We turn from evil and choose to do the right thing and we seek peace with everyone. God looks over his children and hears the prayers of those whose hearts are his. He also sees the wicked and is their enemy. So, if God is on our side, who can be against us and win? No one, not even the devil. If we suffer on this earth because we are God’s children, then we should be happy because God sees everything and writes it all down. It will be our reward in heaven. We should never fear anything because we walk with the Holy Spirit.

Help us to remember that you are our strong defense and ever present to help us when we need it. We honor you, Lord.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Submission… The 10-letter-word!

Read 1 Peter 3:1-7

I hate to even touch this scripture because of it abuse and bad connotations but we must. Submission sounds like a negative word but it is really suppose to be a positive one. Submission is honor and results in protection. When we submit to our husbands then we free God to work on them to bring about godly changes. When we are stubborn and try to change our husbands ourselves and are rebellious then it closes their hearts to us and to God. They will be won by the “conversation” which means “behavior” in the Greek. Actions do speak louder than words. Our beauty is not how we look outwardly, but how our heart is responding to situations. I have seen some beautiful women whose actions take away from their outward beauty, and I have seen some not-so-beautiful women whose manner makes them beautiful. Sara is our example who submitted to Abraham and allowed herself to be taken into the kings harem. He had made her promise to tell everyone that she was his sister so they wouldn’t try to kill him for her because she was very beautiful. God did deliver her before she could be violated. She submitted to Abraham, but put her trust in the Lord and he protected her.

Husbands are to love and honor their wives the best they know how and are to desire to be one in the Lord. When they do this their prayers will not be hindered. The bottom line is that wives want to be loved and taken care of and the husbands want to be respected.

Lord, help us learn to honor our spouses and submit to our husbands recognizing that we need them because together we are heirs of Jesus. We bless our spouses in Jesus name to be all that God intended them to be.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tues.’s Devo Righteous Suffering

Read 1 Peter 3:19-25

God is very thankful and gracious toward those who are unjustly treated for standing up for him. But if you are suffering for some wrong you did, then this is your payment for your sin and God is not going to rescue you. It is fulfillment of his Word: you will reap what you sow. We were called to suffer in this world just as Christ, as our example, suffered. He suffered for his righteousness, not his sin. When he was persecuted, he chose not to retaliate. He held his mouth and didn’t speak up for himself. The only one he ever defended was God. He never threatened them with judgment even though it would have been the truth. He came to seek and save the lost, not condemn his enemies. His life did that. He lived a life totally devoted to God his father and when he died he was worthy to take all the sin on himself and be our perfect sacrifice without blemish. Every stripe he took on his back was for our healing. We are like sheep that easily stray away, but Jesus has found us and we are safe in his sheepfold. The sheepfold is the “church” and Jesus is the Bishop of our souls.

Lord, thank you for purchasing our salvation on the cross. Help us to remember when we go through minor persecution here on earth, that you went through major persecution on the cross for us. We are so grateful.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Christian Guidelines

Read 1 Peter 2:10-18

Every time we join new organizations we become new people groups and bond together because of our common interests. That is what was happening during these times. People who ordinarily wouldn’t have much in common were coming to the revelation that Jesus was the Messiah and they were joining together on this common belief. They became the “early church”. They were once lost in sin and now had received mercy and forgiveness and a new life in Jesus. Peter is now letting them know the guidelines of this new life. First he tells them to refrain from the things that use to hold them captive like lust, deceit, slander, and replace it with righteous living, hones conversation, and good works that glorify God. We still have to obey the laws of the land in which we live so that no one can bring an accusation against us that would mar our witness. We have given our lives to Jesus to have his thoughts and do his will, not our own. There is total freedom in that and peace. We are to value all men and love our Christian brothers and sisters and most of all fear God. We are even to honor those God has placed to rule our nation even if we don’t agree with them. God placed them where they are to draw us to him. We are to honor our bosses and everyone in authority over us, even if they are tyrants.

We watched “Cowboys and Aliens” last night and Harrison Ford played the part of a really mean man who had been hardened by the war. He had a servant who endured his meaness with respect even though his boss was hurtful and tough on him. In the end the servant’s allegiance softened Ford’s heart and changed him. That is what we can see God do through us if we obey his Word.

Lord, help us to follow your guidelines which lead to freedom.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sun.’s Devo - Merry Christmas!

They may be able to take prayer out of the schools officially, but kids still pray. And they may change the “Christmas” holidays to “Winter “ festivals but all this does is cause Christians to rise up and be heard. I sat and watched video after video on u-tube about flash mobs in malls across America. I was moved to tears to see Christians singing out so beautifully and freely the songs about Jesus in a very public, mixed place. When Jesus was coming into Jerusalem for the last time he traveled the road that the temple lamb had just traveled. The people were still there and when he passed them on his donkey the people laid down their coats and yelled, “Hosannah, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” When his disciples told Jesus to stop them, he responded, “if they don’t praise me then the rocks will cry out,” Rocks have metallic principles that hold memory so these same rocks were on the earth when God said, “Let there by light.” The rocks knew this was the son of God and would have responded if the people didn’t. It is always in the place of persecution and trouble that the church rises up and makes a stand about what they believe. Flash mobs are a way these people are making a statement and standing for what they believe in the face of a society that tries to outlaw it. The days are only going to get darker and the children of God are only going to get brighter, so on the day we choose to celebrate the birth of our Messiah, let’s let our light shine! May you have a wonderful day full of all the blessings of believing in the only one who has life.

Thank you, Lord, for sending your son to save us from our sins.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo- The Rock of Jesus

Read 1 Pet. 1:17- 2:8

We have been saved into a spiritual inheritance. Everything we do is being recorded. The confessed sins go under the blood and are remembered no more and our works are judged. Since we weren’t bought with actual money, we won’t be rewarded with money. We were bought with the precious blood of Jesus who was sinless. He was here existed before time and came to earth to die and be raised up to glory that we might believed in him. How can we not love a god like that? Loving God should cause us to love our fellow men. We were born again into an everlasting seed. Our bodies will pass away but our spirits will live on forever.

Knowing this, we have to lay down hatred, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all backbiting. We are to be as hungry for the Word as a newborn is for her/his milk. The Word is the only way we will grow. If you read the Bible then you will realize that God is very good and kind. He is the living rock that men rejected but God accepted. Jesus is either a stumbling stone that men trip over and reject or a rock that people stand on and live by. Jesus is the chief corner stone which is plum line for us all to measure our lives by. We are the rest of the stones that together make the whole house.

Lord, help us to not lose sight of this spiritual heritage we have been save into. We want to stand on this rock of Christ and make it our foundation.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Who We Are in Christ

Read 1 Peter 2:9

If you have asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you of all your sins, wash you, and make you his follower, then these scriptures will tell you what you are. You are a chosen generation. In John 15:16 Jesus said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” God chose us before the foundation of the earth to be his children. We are a royal priesthood which means we are part of a group of people that minister before the Lord. In the Old Testament only the priest could minister to the Lord in the temple. They all had jobs: some would keep the wicks trimmed in the menorah, some would put the shewbread out every week, some would burn incense, some killed the offerings and burnt them, etc. We do the same things, but in a New Testament way. Since Jesus was the final sacrifice that atoned for the whole world forever, there is no more need for a sacrifice. We sacrifice to the Lord by giving our lives, desires, future and plans to him. We keep our wicks trimmed by keeping our lives pure and under the blood. By “under the blood” I mean that we have confessed our sins to God and asked him to forgive us. When we have done this, his blood covers us like the skins covered Adam and Eve after they sinned (Gen 3:21), and we are righteous. Then our lights can shine unhindered. We put out the shewbread by eating God’s Word which is our daily bread. And we burn incense by praying our prayers to God which is a sweet aroma to him. We are a holy nation because we have chosen to live our lives for God and glorify him in what we do rather than ourselves. We are a peculiar people. “Peculiar” in the Greek means “purchased; saved”. God purchased us with the blood of his son who died to save us. He did all this for us so that we would praise him and testify of Him. It is not that God has an ego; he has an incredible love for us and wants us to chose him so he can pour out his love on us.

Lord, thank you for the sacrifice of your son, Jesus, that we might be covered and righteous before you. May we keep ourselves unspotted from the world and open to you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Walking in our Season

Read 1 Pet. 1:6-16

Peter agrees with James that the way through trials is by rejoicing. “Rejoicing” in the Greek means to jump for joy and be exceedingly joyful. Trials only last for a season so why waste the time being melancholy when you can rejoice and be glad. Trials are to be treasured above gold that doesn’t last. Gold won’t buy us a place in God’s heart, but the way we go through a trial will. It gives honor and glory to Jesus. Even though we don’t see Jesus we can rejoice and be glad about what he is going to do for us. In the same way, we might not see how our trial is ever going to work out for good but we can rejoice trusting it will. In the end we will gain eternal life and no trial can take that away from us. We live in the season of grace, but the prophets could only prophecy about it. They could only imagine what it would look like and I know they didn’t imagine it like it is. We read about heaven and can only imagine what it will be like, but I know our imaginations are limited and not accurate. Jesus told the disciples about the glory that would come to those who suffer for Christ so that we could benefit from that now. We have been given the Holy Spirit, which they didn’t have until Pentecost. We take for granted the whisper of God in our ears leading us the right way. The men of the Old Testament didn’t know this voice and only had the law and the prophets to be their guide. Because we have been given the Word, the Prophets, the Cross, and the Holy Spirit, we have a greater responsibility to walk with God in truth. We are to be holy as God is holy because we have been given everything we need to do that.

Lord, help us to walk in the full revelation you have given us. Bring back to our hearts the things we have heard and help us to live them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tues.’s Devo. The Good News!

Read 1 Peter: 1: 1-5

Now that we are finished with James it just seems right to go on to see what Peter had to say. First Peter was written to the Christians living in various parts of Asia Minor who are suffering rejection in the world because of their walk. Peter calls them “pilgrims of the Dispersion” in verse 1. They were mostly converted Gentiles who were once lewd, drunkards, and idolators. Their friends are now seeing the change in their lives and persecuting them for it. It is now about 60 years since Jesus ascended into heaven and his followers have multiplied in number.

Peter was an apostle which means he was a delegate sent from God to do miraculous deeds. Since he is writing to the converted Gentiles he explains how they are now “in the family”. They were called before the foundation of the earth, made righteous through the Holy Spirit, and believed that the blood of Jesus would cover and take away their sins. He prays grace and peace for them. In verse 3 he explains their condition with God. They are blessed with God’s mercy which gives them hope because he is alive and death could not conquer him. Now they have received the inheritance Jesus died to give them. This inheritance can not decay, be watered down, but is perpetual- it continues to live forever. And the best part is that it is reserved in heaven for all of us who are kept by the power of God in this salvation which will mature at the end of time.

I can’t imagine how this good news of the gospel sounded to the early believers who had never heard of such a promise. It probably sound just as good to the ones who have never heard of it in our day. Let’s get out and share it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Elijah’s Prayers

Read James 5:17-20

Yesterday we talked about praying prayers that work and manifest what we say. We are just humans, but if we confess our sins and put them under the blood of Jesus, then we carry the righteousness that Jesus carried, and we can do what Jesus did. Elijah was a great example of that. (1 Kings 18) He was just a man , but a righteous man. Israel was under the leadership of Ahab who led the nation in idol worship. The Lord had closed heaven and there was no rain for 3 and a half years. But when God was ready to rain again he called Elijah to go and show himself to Ahab. Ahab had been looking for Elijah for years to kill him. The people blamed the drought on Elijah. When Elijah met with Ahab it was a showdown between the gods of Baal and the Almighty God. Elijah challenged them to build an altar and see whose God would respond with fire. When the Baal worshippers tried for hours and couldn’t call down fire, Elijah used some of the precious water of the land and doused the altar. When he prayed, fire consumed the altar. Then he took the 400 prophets of Baal down to the Kishon brook and killed them. Once the earth was rid of the deception of the Baal worshippers, heaven could once more be opened. Elijah birthed this rain like a woman births a baby. He laid down in a fetal position and prayed sending his servant over and over to see if there was a cloud. On the 7th time he saw a cloud. When it did rain, the earth responded and the dead seed came to life and produced fruit. His reason for doing this was to bring Israel out of sin and back to the Lord. When it had done this, fruit came forth. We can be as effective as Elijah if we bring one person out of a life of sin and into a life of righteousness in the Lord.

Lord, may we be bold in our walk and learn to pray until we see the results.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Effectual Prayers

Read James 5:12-16

Have you ever noticed how we exaggerate what we want people to exaggerate in their minds? The truth doesn’t need exaggerated adjectives to make it more believable - it can stand alone. So, instead of trying to coerce people to believe us ,we can just say “yes” or “no” and that is enough. God will back us up with the witness of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Our explanations sometimes water down the truth anyway. Enough about that… let’s talk about praying for people.

Verse 13 says that if someone comes to us undergoing a hardship we are to pray for him. Notice it didn’t say to meet their physical need. We take the need to God first and if he tells us to help them, then we do. We are not their God, just the conduit for Him to pass through. Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to be happy and a time to be sad. If it is the time to rejoice, then we should sing songs to the Lord. If someone in our church is sick then we are to call the mature believers to pray for the person sick and anoint them with oil. The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit who is the healer. The faith of the people praying for him will cause him to be healed and if he has any unforgiven sins, they will be forgiven. Sometimes unconfessed sins cause us to stay sick. We need to confess those sins and get them under the blood of Jesus. When we are healed in the inside it can manifest on the outside. The faith-put-into-action prayer of a man who is right before God is very strong. We can pray great prayers but if we don’t step out and act on what we are praying it shows that our faith is small.

Lord, help us to speak only truth and stand righteously as we pray. Let our prayers be active and powerful.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - God is Faithful to the End!

Read James 5:10-11

Many of the prophets spoke out God’s word to a very hostile audience. They were usually telling a sinful nation to repent and exposing their sins. Many had to live in hiding for fear of their lives. They lived in the wilderness or the mountains away from the modern civilization of their time. They were created to bring God’s word forth and took the challenge against the odds. Their lives were a sacrifice so that we can enjoy their encouragement. We are told to pronounce them fortunate and blessed who undergo trials. Remember Job? If I ever feel persecuted or beat and remember Job, I find my small problem become even smaller. He lost everything: his family, his wealth, his reputation, his looks, and his position in society. The only thing he didn’t lose was his faithful wife and his not-so-faithful friends. He had not been privy to the conversation between God and Satan so he didn’t ever find out why he had to go through what he did, but his sufferings have been known throughout the generations. Even people who don’t follow Jesus have heard of Job. A good lesson. We might think we are going through this life unnoticed but the seeds we have planted will live forever. Most famous people were never famous during their lifetime. I would rather be famous in heaven than on earth anyway. Our encouragement is what happened to Job in the end. In the end, God was merciful and restored everything back to him. Job 42:10 says that the Lord turned his captivity when he prayed for his friends and gave him twice as much wealth as he had before. He even got back a family - 7 boys and 3 girls which was exactly what he had lost. He lived another 140 years and got to see the next 4 generation of grand children. What a reward for allowing God to use his life as an example. Sometimes our reward is here on earth like Job’s, or sometimes it is waiting for us in heaven. We know this: God is faithful.

Lord, help us to see the big picture and live a life totally devoted to you and your plan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Having Right Hearts

Read James 5:1-9

Wealth is a gift from God and a blessing if received with a humble heart and used for God’s glory. Wealth used for selfish reasons only will become a curse. James is addressing these people. Their riches have become a curse to them. Their abundance has become corrupt and rusted because they have hoarded their wealth so they will have plenty when things get bad. They have lived in luxury while the poor go hungry. They used their position of power to be unjust to those of lesser status. They hurt and killed innocent people. It is God who gives the power to make wealth and he is looking for people he can trust great amounts of money to. I think of the family that owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel’s. They have give millions away to the kingdom of God. They are a great example of people God has trusted to steward his money.

In verse 7 James speaks to the righteous remnant and tells them to be patient about when Jesus is coming back because God is waiting till the earth is full of fruit for the harvest. While we are waiting we should steadfastly set our heart to the Lord. Everything we go through is to establish our relationship with God we that we know whatever comes our way is under his control. Watch how we treat one another. If we have a grade or an offense, we need to settle it quickly. We don’t want to be holding unforgiveness when Jesus comes.

Lord, we want to be a people you can entrust your riches to. Show us how to steward the world’s riches so we can rightly steward the true riches of your Word.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tues.’s Devo - Let God Be the Judge

Read James 4:11-17

Our tongues are suppose to be instruments of life, but if we slander a person with our conversation then we are judging him and slandering God’s Word which teaches that man is God’s creation. When we judge the Word and don’t follow it then we have put ourselves in the position of a judge. The Bible says that we are not to judge anyone because we will be judged with the same judgement that we give out. So if we speak against someone, we have just opened the door for someone to speak against us. Just because we live in the dispensation of grace does not mean that we won’t reap what we sow. Only God is in the position to judge rightly and not be judged. There is nothing we could judge God about. He alone can save or kill, forgive or judge. We don’t even know what is going to happen tomorrow, but God does. That is why we should plan as he leads us to plan. He does know what tomorrow is going to bring and how to plan for it. Have you ever made plans that deep inside you didn’t think would happen? I have, and they didn’t happen. That is God letting you know his thoughts. Everything we do and all the talents we have are because of Him. We rejoice, not in our own achievements, but in what He has done through us. God will direct our steps and to follow any other way is sin.

Lord, we want you to lead us and judge our lives. Show us what is our plan and what is your plan and may we choose yours.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mon.’s Devo- Draw Near

Read James 4:1-10

James opens up with this question: “Why is there fighting among you?” This is his answer: Your fighting stems from the lust in your flesh. You want and don’t get because your prayers are selfish. Your motives are strictly self-serving. He calls them adulterers and adulteresses because they have given their heart to the world when it belongs to God. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy with God. You can’t mix them. So what do we do with our lustful hearts? We humble ourselves before God and ask for his grace. If we resist the devil, he has to flee. We forget that GREATER is he that is in us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) We always have access to the throne of God and when we turn our hearts to God, he comes near. That is an incredible thing to ponder: God draws near to us when we draw near to him. We can have an audience with the king whenever we want. But there is a way we do this. We come with a pure heart and clean hands. In other words, we obtain his presence when we have repented of our sins and purified our hearts. We can’t come with our own opinion or with sin in our hearts. We are approaching a holy God so we must approach him humbly. I have noticed that the prayers that I have seen such miraculous answers in are ones that I prayed in complete humility, knowing that I could not not answer them. Only God could do it.

Lord, we humble ourselves in your presence and believe that you will lift us up and come to our rescue.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - The Tongue is a Flame of Fire

Read James 3:5-18

Another lesson about the tongue. Yesterday we talked about how the tongue is like a rudder that can steer us in our path: good or bad. Today we are comparing the tongue to fire. It starts with a flicker on the tip of a matchstick, but if touched to straw, it can become a forest fire. I know you remember playing “gossip” as a child. What a picture of how the tongue can start a rumor. Even the truth can become a blown-out lie that can destroy many people. The flip side of that is that we are to be a fire that spreads. The group that waited in the upper room for receive the gift of the Holy Spirit were given tongues of fire on their heads and they went out and spoke the gospel in languages they didn’t even know. They started a fire that is still going in us. That is the kind of fire we want to be not the destructive fire. Hell is depicted as a place of fire. Fire can be painful and destructive or healing and cleansing. We can either bless or curse with our tongues. Our tongues are like a fountain spewing forth evil or righteousness. Verse 8 says that no man can tame the tongue, only God can do that. We can’t live righteously apart from the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, but with God anything is possible. Jesus was a man, but showed us that speaking rightly can be done if we submit all of our members to him. If we are a good tree (buried with Christ and walking as a new creature) then we will bear good fruit. Then we can do verse 13: show God’s wisdom through our conversation. If we have strife and bitterness in our hearts then that hatred and bitterness will come out in our speech. God’s speech comes from a heart of wisdom and is pure, peaceable, gentle and compassionate, easy to confront, full of good works, not biased, and truth. It brings about peace.

Lord, help us to walk in your wisdom and your speech.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thur.s’ Devo - The Power of the Tongue

Read James 3:1-4

This first verse always makes me tremble because I am a teacher. We will be judged harsher because we are in the position to effect so many people’s faith. I pray that I rightly divide the word of truth and not just give my opinion. I want us to be this perfect man in the second verse that doesn’t err in what he says, because if we can control what we say, then we can control our whole body. We all know that feeling we get right before we are about to open our mouths and speak something off the mark. We do have the power to stop before we say it. Our tongues are a small percentage of our body but controls everything about us. With our tongue we can produce life or death, healing or destruction. It is compared to the rudder of a ship which determines which way the ship goes. How powerful: with our tongues we create our destiny. Do you want to be well and prosperous? Then speak it and believe it in your heart. Do you want to have victory over a besetting sin? Then speak deliverance. Look at verse 4 again. It gives the picture of a ship that is being battered by fierce winds. The winds are above the surface (what we see with our eyes as we look on our situations), but the rudder is underneath in the spirit realm where no one can see it. It is the key to keeping the boat from being tossed around the sea. Our words are like that. They can anchor us and keep us on the course. If you don’t know what to say then the best thing to do is find a scripture concerning your situation and read it out loud and keep reading it till it is in your heart. The devil hates the Word and has to flee. The spirit of God in us is strengthened by the Word and rises up to perform it on your behalf. Jesus spoke to the waves that were threatening the disciples’ boat and said, “Peace be still” and the waves obeyed. He has given us that power.

Lord, give us your words to defeat the enemy and let us glorify you in our speech.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Faith + Works = Life!

Read James 2

We are never to treat one person better than another just because of their social status or financial status. God created us all and we came naked into this world and we will go naked out of this world. When we prefer one person over another then we have become a judge and we have broken the law that says we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we judge then we will be judged by that same judgment, but if we have love and mercy then we will be judged through love and mercy. None of us can keep the whole law so we can’t expect anyone else to either. When we encounter a person who has needs and offer them a prayer, when they need a prayer and a meal then we are giving them faith without works. Verse 20 says that our faith is dead if we do that. Abraham received his salvation when he offered Isaac on the altar to show his trust in God. Believing in God is not enough, we must act on our beliefs. When we do, our faith is made perfect. Abraham’s faith and works gained him the status of God’s friend. Rahab acted on her faith in God when she took care of his servants, Joshua and Caleb and saved their lives. We can’t just believe God without an active response.

Last week I got the opportunity to do just that. I got a call from a friend that is very poor. She needed food and money and prayer. I saw this as an opportunity to put my faith to work and did just that.

Lord, help us to look for ways to give life to our faith.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tues.’s Devo - Pure Religion

Read James 1:19-27

James admonishes us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I bet if we did those two things then the 3rd thing he tells us to do would be easier: slow to anger. I know when I react and don’t stop and calm myself down first, I say the wrong thing and regret it. It is so easy to take things personally when they weren’t meant that way. The only way we can discern rightly is to listen and pray about what is being said and why. Jesus never reacted but he sometimes acted. He acted when he overthrew the tables of the money changers in the temple. He was acting out of righteous indignation. He was acting for God, not himself. We are suppose to be separated from the filthiness of the world. Eph. 5:12 says that we are not to even talk about what the wicked do in secret. Instead, we are to spend our time in God’s Word learning the secrets of God. Only God’s Word has the power to save our souls. Just reading it and memorizing it is not enough - we must live it and put it’s precepts into practice. We never really learn something till we use it and that is the same way the Word of God is. It is just a book until you let it live in you, then it is alive! If you live by the Bible then you will be blessed in all that you do. Going back to the words we speak… what comes out of our mouth shows what is in our hearts. If we live the Word and do what it says then we will care for those who have no fathers and women who have no husbands and we will keep ourselves unpolluted from the world.

Lord, put a watch over our mouths that we stop and get your perspective before we speak. Give us a heart to reach out to the fatherless and husbandless and help us to keep our hands pure.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Temptations

Read James 1:12-18

It is a promise: we will be tempted. But if we can turn from the temptation and choose God then we be able to stand in the great judgment and receive the crown of life. Jesus wore a crown of thorns in mockery of their claim that he was the king of the Jews. His crown was a crown of death. Our crown will be a crown of life- everlasting life. God will never tempt us but he will allow the devil to tempt us, in fact, God lead Jesus into the wilderness so he would be tempted and win. The temptation is not the sin; it is what we do with the temptation. If we turn and run immediately then it won’t have time to sink its talons into us and conceive lust which will eventually cause us to sin. Sin leads only one place and that is death. That is the devil’s plan for us ultimately. If we are hidden in God and he can’t take us to hell with him then he will work to destroy our testimony. But God gives us gifts that are perfect and help us to endure the darts of the devil. God is light and there is no darkness in him. The devil is darkness and their is not light in him. The devil tries to mimic God and deceive us as an angel of light. His works are counterfeit and lead to our demise. God is truth and will lead us into all truth if we keep our minds stayed on him.

Lord, be our light and our truth today. May our minds be stayed on you that we not sin against you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Above all, get Wisdom!

Read James 1:5-11

Asking for wisdom is like asking for patience because wisdom is the working out of knowledge. First you get knowledge of how to live, then you get understanding in how to do it, then you get wisdom by actually putting it to work in your life. Wisdom only comes through experience. You can not get wisdom from a book. You can get knowledge in a book and some understanding, but wisdom comes through hands-on trying and failing and trying again. After working on the light bulb for years and not coming up with the answer, someone asked Edison if he felt like a failure and he said, “No, I found 253 ways how NOT to make a light bulb.” As we know he finally did find a way that worked. The good thing is: wisdom is something God delights to give us, so all we have to do is ask for it. If we doubt God wants to give us wisdom, then we will doubt everything about God. We have to ask and believe, then we will be stable in all our ways. If we are asking humbly then when the answer comes we will be confident in God. If we are confident in ourselves then when God gives us wisdom it will humble us. When God steps in and reveals his glory through us we realize how small and insignificant our lives are. I think of Steve Jobs, such a loss to the world, yet all his money could not add one day to his life. Our lives are like the grass that is here today and tomorrow it dies and withers away. We can leave an earthly inheritance which can be quickly spent. But we can leave a spiritual inheritance that lives on till Jesus comes back.

Lord, we do ask for wisdom in how to come in and go out with you. Help us to remember that you are just a prayer away. We can have an audience with the king at any given moment.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - Patience!

Read James 1:1-4

I was trying to figure out where God wanted us to go next when I fell on James. James is always a timely book because we are always either about to go into a trial, or are in the midst of it or we are coming out of one. So lets look at this together. James wrote this to the twelve tribes that were scattered abroad. That is a good description of the body of Christ. We are scattered all over the world. James says to be joyful when you find yourself in a trial. That goes against our ideas of what the abundant Christian life is suppose to look like but life is a process of learning and growing. In school we learn information, then we have a test. We will soon forget that information unless we use it in everyday life. God’s lessons are like that. We learn great wisdom from reading his word, or listening to a great sermon, then we have to take the test (the trial). To make it stick we have to be put in a situation where we have to use that information. James says that trials are to produce patience. I can see that that is true. I don’t get upset like I use to when things go wrong. I can actually laugh at some trials because I recognize them and know why they are here. They say never pray for patience because you will get reasons to have to be patient but I can tell you by much experience… you will get the trials anyway because it is ALL to bring about patience in our lives.

Why is patience so important? Patience is the foundation to the Christian life. If you learn patience you have learned to wait on God for his timing. It takes patience to bring forth fruit (Luke 29:19). Patience helps us win souls (Luke 21:19). Through patience we have hope (Rom. 15:4) and inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12). Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

Lord, we all want patience, NOW! but I know that patience comes slowly over time. Help us to joy in our trials knowing that when we pass them we get promoted to the next level, which means our trials will get bigger! Hallelujah! Truthfully, I am grateful that you walk with us and desire that we grow stronger so you can use us in greater capacities. Help us not to be wimps but courageous in You.