Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Tuesday!

Wow, the weeks are going by fast! Our passage study today is James 4:7-10:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-10 NIV)

That is the version that I have always known, but the NLT is good too:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.
(James 4:7-9 NLT)

This goes along with what the sermon was about on Sunday. So many Christian's loyalty is divided between Christ and the world. So many Christian LEADERS are this way as well. If you want a list of them, look in the mirror. This passage tells us what to do if that has happened to us. Also look up James 1:5-8 (yes, you will have to open your bible)because it directly applies to this and it tells us the result of having divided loyalty.

Remember, the purpose of this is to help us become better disciples of Jesus - not just to give our opinion. So, let's respond from the viewpoint of how it affects us, not how we would preach it to others. I think that will be more helpful.

Song of the Week

To help us focus on the most important things, instead of just good things. As a tip, if you let it play after the song is done, you can hear the previous songs of the week, too (there are a whopping 3 so far). Btw - these are all legal to download too.

An Oldie but a Goodie

That's all for now,



Charles said...

OK. Before I get started, I thought you might like to know that the link for the song just is not working.

How does this "doublemindedness" affect us?
Oh man in so many ways its crazy. I know without a doubt that, If I had a choice to not be bi-vocational, my loyalty would not be so tried and broken. Thats not to say that I would ever deny Christ, or do anything in the workplace that would anger my Lord. However, the working in the world demands so much of us to act like the world, lest we become less employable. Truly and honestly, I despise working on the sabbath. My hearts desire is to spend the day in fellowship with other Christians, In his word, with my family. The other days off during the week are not the same, we spend time in the word and try to make the best of it, however I know I hear the voice of God telling me its not good enough. How about, being good stewards of our money, in my work it is pretty much our duty to make sure customers finance what they cant afford. I know that encouraging people to go further into debt does not please God. If I where not somewhat doubleminded, I would be pretty much unemployable in my line of work. Those are just two small examples of many. The simple truth is this, I desire is to be undivided between God and the World. So I am spending more time with him, watching and waiting for the door God opens, and when he does, I will walk thru in faith. In the meantime, I will have Patience in my trials, afflictions, and temptations of this world. I am learning that my affliction is not necessarily from God but of God. Meaning I can have the faith that God's plan and purpose is greater than I can understand. In James 1 5-8 I actually felt the Lord telling me that this is about how me as a Christian will deal with my afflicition. Do I/Will I come to him seeking wisdom in FAITH? More than before yes is the answer but not enough. Will I take the task the Lord has given me, dealing with this affliction, and be well with it in faith? Will, I understand that people I deal with daily that know if it, are watching me as a Christian and how I deal with it? The affect is this, I am increasingly becoming more set apart from this world, I must ask for wisdom when afflicted and challenged by this world, I must remember that there are times that I should fear God more than I have and get serious about his kingdom. Becoming more submissive to his ultimate authority and will.
To sum it up, I am unwavering in desire to be undivided. Motivated, dedicated, triangulated and all the other ated's. I shall go to him in Faith, seek wisdom, patience and be humble in my desire and affliction.

Phil said...

Great post, Charles. I'm not sure what the deal is with your computer (and make no mistake - it is with your computer. Ha!) but the song link is working fine for me and the rest of the world (and by world, I mean Carmen's computer).

A couple of quick things that hit me about this passage:

When we draw near to God, the devil is pushed further away. If we draw near to the devil, then God is pushed further away. The signpost is clear where we are to go; the direction we choose is up to us. (psst! - I stole that from somewhere else, but it's good, huh?)

Something else I stole -

Resist the devil. This means to flee the devil’s kingdom, his values, and his wisdom and embrace God’s kingdom, values and wisdom. This has more to do with moral values than spiritual warfare. The devil does not have equal authority or power as the popular “Ying/Yang” philosophy states; rather, he only has the power we give to Him, while God has absolute power. The devil is not invincible; he is easily thwarted when we don God’s armor so we can disregard his temptations and flee from him. We evade the lusts of our heart and world by running from it, not toward it (Eph. 6:11-18; James. 3:15, 17; 4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8-9)!

good stuff. some questions come to me...how do we draw near to God? How do we resist the devil? To do one, is to do the other. to not do one, cancels out the other. That's scary...I can't draw near to to God and not resist the devil at the same time. I can't have it both ways. For years I lived like I thought that my yearning for God was enough to cancel out the effects of the temptations I was giving into in my personal life.

That was a deception that I bought into. God wanted a river of righteous living from me (Amos 5:24)

more later...

john m said...

Yeah, the song worked on my computer too.
I too struggle the the "doubting" James speaks of. I would like to say that I never doubt God or His abillity to answer prayer, however, many times I am filled with self doubt. I doubt my motives sometimes. I feel like the father in Mark who's son was possessed, Jesus told him all things are possible to those who believe and he replied, I believe; help my unbelief!
I once heard a sermon about the verse on resisting the devil and he will flee from you. The speaker said that each time we successfully resist the devil we become a little stronger so when he sees that his temptation is a benefit to us he flees. He used the example of someone who uses resistance training to build muscle. The resistance makes you stronger.
I think it is interesting that James says to draw near to God, before he says wash your hands and purify your hearts. If I wait until I have washed and purified and may never draw near. As we draw near we are made aware of our need for washing. We are not capable of truly humbling ourselves until we draw near to a Holy God and are convicted of our own unholiness. Praise God He draws near even before our purification is complete.
john m

Phil said...

I find myself being drawn nearer to God just by taking the time to put thoughts together for the blog. I guess that's why Paul told us to think on these things.