God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Isn’t it wonderful that God isn’t like us in these ways? I don’t know about you, but I have been let down by people to the point where I have learned to be careful about who I choose to trust and who I can’t trust. I’ve been lied to and I’ve had people tell me things then change their minds. I’ve had people make promises that they never followed through with.
And you know what else? I constantly let others down. I disapoint myself and people close to me. I’ve lied and changed my mind and not followed through with promises.
I would venture to say that most of us have scars and trust issues. We loose people’s trust and they loose ours. We’re all human. I think sometimes it’s hard for us to trust God, because we’ve been let down so much by people that we’re afraid. We try to protect our hearts by not trusting anyone but ourselves.
But the thing is, even though we fail ourselves, God will never fail us. He will never let us down. He is good and perfect and never changing. We know that we can put all our faith and hope and trust in Him.
We can trust that He will follow through with everything He says. We can trust in His Word, and we know that everything will happen as it is written in His Word. The Lord is our steady rock that we can build the foundation of our lives on. It’s amazing!
So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
It’s interesting that both of these passages are written by the disciple John in two separate books of the Bible. The first was in the Gospel of John where he wrote these words that were spoken by Jesus. The second was in a letter to believers. Both of these passages would have been addressed to followers of Christ specifically.
John liked to write about love. And I like to read about the love that John wrote about. Love is one of the things that separates us from the world. People may think that they have love without God, but true love comes from God. God is love. Love does not exist apart from Him.
The way He loves us is so amazing. We don’t even deserve it, but He loves us unconditionally. Jesus showed true love for us by laying down His life for us. Christ showed true love for His followers and this broken world by coming here to serve people.
Because He showed us what true love is, we too, can love each other. And when we do, the world will notice. They will see that there is something different about us. Our love for our fellow believers will show the world that we are disciples of Christ.
In some groups of Christians, it seems that members love each other like they would love a family member that they don’t really get along with. It’s kind of like, “I love you because I have to, but I don’t really like you.” But if that’s the case, then how are we any different from the rest of the world? How can love be what makes us different if we don’t show true and sacrificial love for one another the way Christ showed love for us?
I think that’s where the second passage comes in. The old saying is true that actions really do speak louder than words. How can we outwardly show Christ’s love for our fellow believers? What are some practical ways that we can show by our actions that we love each other?
These two verses are my memory verses for this week. I’m involved in a summer bible study, and we’ve made it a goal to memorize two verses each week. Both of these verses are about serving others and are part of a “pack” about being a disciple of Christ.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a random for many.
2 Corinthians 4:5
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and that we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.
It amazes me that God sent His Son to us to serve us and to die for us. He showed His love to the world, but serving people. He deserved praise and worship, but he washed the feet of His followers. He deserved honor and glory, but He served us by laying down His life for us so that we may live!
Christ is the ultimate example of how we should live while we are here on Earth. Jesus showed the Father’s love by serving others. We, too, can show God’s love by serving people. We can love others because of God’s love for us. We can let God love people through us.
How can you serve the people that God has placed in your life? Maybe there are simple things you can do or maybe there are big things. Maybe you could do the dishes for you roommate(s) or your family or whoever you live with. Maybe you could have lunch with someone who could use a friend. Maybe you could go halfway across the world to help build houses for families in need. We can all serve people in some way while loving them with the love of the Father.
We must also remember not to try to accomplish anything out of our own efforts, so that we can brag about how good we are for doing good things. God should be the one to receive all the glory for anything that we do. And we should always rely on Him! Anything good comes from the Lord.
How can you be a servant to someone in your life today? :)
This post kind of goes along with my post from yesterday. This is one of those passages that helps you understand the rest of the bible and helps put everything into perspective.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
I love this. Jesus makes it so simple and clear. The most important things are to love God and love people. Everything else is based on these two things. We must love our Lord and the One who laid down His life for us. And it’s equally important that we love our neighbor as ourselves. When we love the beautiful humans that God created, then we are loving God. We can love God by serving one another.
Some people think Christianity has so many “rules.” Or they wonder why God gave so many laws to Israel in the Old Testament. Well, Jesus gives us the answer right here. In verse 40, He says the entire Law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Anything that God asks of us deal either with loving Him or loving people. This is Christianity at its core.
Following Christ is not complicated; it’s simple. And it’s all about love. God is love. And I love Love. What God asks of us is love. What the world asks of us is complicated and it’s the opposite of love. Don’t be fooled. The world may disguise itself as love but real love is of God.
Since love comes from God, we cannot love without Him. We need Him even to show love to Him. And when we love others, we can love them with the love of God. We can let God love our neighbor through us. Everything good comes from God alone.
So go love :)
I heard a great sermon on these two chapters at church this morning, so I wanted to blog about it and dig a little deeper into them. It’s a long passage today, but it’s so good. Amos has a lot of good lessons for us to learn here.
What sorrow awaits you who lounge in luxury in Jerusalem,
and you who feel secure in Samaria!
You are famous and popular in Israel,
and people go to you for help.
2 But go over to Calneh
and see what happened there.
Then go to the great city of Hamath
and down to the Philistine city of Gath.
You are no better than they were,
and look at how they were destroyed.
3 You push away every thought of coming disaster,
but your actions only bring the day of judgment closer.
4 How terrible for you who sprawl on ivory beds
and lounge on your couches,
eating the meat of tender lambs from the flock
and of choice calves fattened in the stall.
5 You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp
and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David.
6 You drink wine by the bowlful
and perfume yourselves with fragrant lotions.
You care nothing about the ruin of your nation.
7 Therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives.
Suddenly, all your parties will end.
8 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his own name, and this is what he, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, says:
“I despise the arrogance of Israel,
and I hate their fortresses.
I will give this city
and everything in it to their enemies.”
9 (If there are ten men left in one house, they will all die. 10 And when a relative who is responsible to dispose of the dead goes into the house to carry out the bodies, he will ask the last survivor, “Is anyone else with you?” When the person begins to swear, “No, by . . . ,” he will interrupt and say, “Stop! Don’t even mention the name of the Lord.”)
11 When the Lord gives the command,
homes both great and small will be smashed to pieces.
12 Can horses gallop over boulders?
Can oxen be used to plow them?
But that’s how foolish you are when you turn justice into poison
and the sweet fruit of righteousness into bitterness.
13 And you brag about your conquest of Lo-debar.
You boast, “Didn’t we take Karnaim by our own strength?”
14 “O people of Israel, I am about to bring an enemy nation against you,”
says the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
“They will oppress you throughout your land—
from Lebo-hamath in the north
to the Arabah Valley in the south.”
7 The Sovereign Lord showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. 2 In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.”
3 So the Lord relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said.
4 Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. I saw him preparing to punish his people with a great fire. The fire had burned up the depths of the sea and was devouring the entire land. 5 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please stop or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.”
6 Then the Lord relented from this plan, too. “I will not do that either,” said the SovereignLord.
7 Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. 8 And theLord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”
I answered, “A plumb line.”
And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. 9 The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.”
10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is hatching a plot against you right here on your very doorstep! What he is saying is intolerable. 11 He is saying, ‘Jeroboam will soon be killed, and the people of Israel will be sent away into exile.’”
12 Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! 13 Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!”
14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one.I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ 16 Now then, listen to this message from the Lord:
‘Don’t prophesy against Israel.
Stop preaching against my people.’
17 But this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in this city,
and your sons and daughters will be killed.
Your land will be divided up,
and you yourself will die in a foreign land.
And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile,
far from their homeland.’”
Look at the beginning of chapter six (verses 1-8). The Lord hates arrogance. He hates it because it is contrary to His nature. Just think about what Jesus did for us. He became a slave. He humbled Himself and died for us. In all His power and might and glory, He humbled Himself for us. If that is who God is, then how could we, as sinful humans, ever be arrogant and think highly of ourselves when we are nothing compared to the One who gave His life for us?
Yet, this passage talks about the arrogance of Israel. The pastor of the church I attended today described narcissism as a fascination with oneself, an excessive self-interest, an inability to show compassion, and a refusal to hear the truth. This describes Israel, but it also describes out society today, don’t you think? The Israelites were arrogant because all they cared about was living in luxury and being “secure” in their wealth. God blessed them with so much but they only wanted to use it for their own pleasure. They didn’t care about the poor who were starving near by. Often times, they even exploited the poor in order to get richer.
Do you consider yourself rich? If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out globalrichlist.com. It will tell you how your income compares to income earned by everyone around the world. I make less then $5,000 a year (I’m a student), and I’m still the top 20% of richest people in the world! That’s so crazy to me! Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, God has blessed us with so much! Are you grateful or are you self-obsessed, always wishing you had more? I’ll admit sometimes I stress out about money and forget how incredibly blessed I am that I have everything I need and most things I want and I don’t even have to pay for my own college. God has provided me with the intelligence, work ethic, and resources necessary to be successful and wealthy. So what am I going to do with this blessing? There is so much more to it than just being thankful. These blessings come with responsibility to our fellow human beings. There are so many people suffering around the world that need our help. God longs for justice for these people. Does your heart ache for them the way His does? Do you want justice for the oppressed as much as He does?
You don’t have to feel guilty about being rich. That’s not the point of this passage. The point is that you can do something to help the poor and the starving all around you. You can love God by loving His people. Do you have space in your life to share the love of God with those around you in practical ways? Jesus told us that the two most important commandments are to love God and love people ( I love that. I have it written on the background of my phone as a reminder). How can you show God’s love to the people in your life who are hurting or suffering?
Jesus showed us with his life what it truly means to love God and love people. Jesus is the plumb line that is discussed in Amos 7:8. Do our lives line up with Jesus or are we out of line? As a society, we definitely don’t line up. We are incredibly arrogant and narcissistic. God hates arrogance. Remember that part of narcissism is an inability to show compassion and a refusal to hear the truth. Don’t ignore the truth of God’s Word. And please remember to show compassion to your neighbors. Love them the way God loves them. Ask God to break your heart for His people who are suffereing. Ask Him to help you long for justice the way He does. For religion to be true and genuine, it must be shared with the most need in society. Who in your life needs the love of Jesus today? Go share it with them!
And we all need to remember humility. I’ve heard it said that those who are the most aware of their sins are the holiest among us. We have no reason to believe we are better than anyone else. If we were all that great, we wouldn’t have needed a savior. I try to live my life for Christ, but I will never ever ever live up to the life of Jesus. Everyday I wake up and I still need a savior. I will always still need a savior. If we are humble and admit that we are out of line, Jesus will take our unrighteousness and replace it with His righteousness. I will never get over how amazing our God is!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’m so glad to finally have internet access again, so that I can hopefully begin to post regularly again. I really enjoy doing this blog, because it helps to keep me accountable in my relationship with Christ.
Something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is patience. I know that God has a plan and that His plan is unfathomably better than mine. But it’s still so hard to wait. It’s hard to not know what the future holds. It’s hard to wait for an answer from God when I just want to know what is going to happen. I want to know that everything will work out.
But there is a reason that the Lord has asked me to wait, so I need to trust Him even though it’s hard. To help me through this time of waiting, I’ve been looking up bible verses on patience to see what God has to say about it and to see what His instructions are for me during a time like this. My favorite verse on patience is Romans 8:25. Romans 8 is such an amazing chapter in general.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
I found a really interesting explanation of this verse in a commentary in Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible: “Where there is a strong desire for an object, and a corresponding expectation of obtaining it – which constitutes true hope – then we can wait for it with patience. Where there is a strong desire without a corresponding expectation of obtaining it, there is impatience.” As Christians, we know that we will receive from God what we are expecting to receive. Therefore, we can wait patiently. If we are impatient, then it shows that we do not actually to expect to receive what we desire. I had never thought it it that way before, so I really liked that explanation.
I don’t wait to be impatient, because that would show that I don’t trust God. If I am impatient, then I do not really expect God to come through. God is my provider, and He has always provided. He has never ever left me or failed me or let me down. What reason could I ever have not to trust Him?
God does amazing things. He never ceases to amaze me by all the ways He continues to work in my life. Sometimes I just want to cry from happiness at the wonderful ways God can turn what I thought we bad situations into awesome opportunities . He keeps showing me that He can bring good things out of painful situations. All I have to do is pray and wait for Him to work in His ways in His time. And at the end of it all, I’m left wondering how I ever could have worried as much as I did. My God always comes though for me. He has a reason for every hard time, every period of waiting.
I cannot wait to see what God will bring from this difficult time. I know that He can do amazing things through this period of waiting that He has given me!!
I absolutely love the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament. It’s an amazing story of how God’s people abandoned Him, but He loved them anyway. We have never been able to live up to a perfect God and we will continue to fail Him. But God still loves us unconditionally.
To preface this passage, the Book of Hosea is about the prophet Hosea and how God commanded him to marry a prostitute. The prostitute represented Israel and how she was unfaithful to the Lord, her husband. Gomer, the prostitute, ran away from her husband Hosea just like Israel abandoned her God. Take a look at what God tells Hosea to do after his wife leaves him.
3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”
2 So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. 3 Then I said to her, “You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me.”
4 This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols! 5 But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the Lord their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.
This is such an amazing illustration of God’s love for Israel and His love for us! Even after we abandoned God and turned away from Him and sinned against Him, He stilled loved us, and He bought us back for a price. In Gomer’s case, it was fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. In our case, we were bought with the precious blood of Christ!
Earlier in Hosea, we can see that it is already known that Gomer would be unfaithful to Hosea before it has even happened. Hosea married Gomer knowing that she would leave Him. The same is true with God and humanity. God already knew that humans would be unfaithful to Him, He knew that Isreal would be unfaithful, and He knew that we would be unfaithful. But He chose to love us anyway.
Verse 5 says that the people will devote themselves to God and to their king, David’s descendent, who is Christ Jesus. This is yet another great prophesy from the Old Testament that points to the coming of Jesus! It’s so cool how Jesus is found throughout the Bible. God knew that we needed the sacrifice of a savior. So when we left Him, he bought us back for a price. He bought us with the highest price that could have ever been paid. We were bought with the blood of the Son of God! How amazing is that!!
Happy April Fools’ Day! Today I thought I would share some verses on what God has to say about fools and being foolish.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.
If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. …
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, …
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
So don’t be a fool this April Fools’ Day! :)
I’m obsessed with these verses. They’re so so great. Today was kind of hard, so I needed this little pick-me-up from the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I love this, because it contains three commands. I think it’s great when the Lord tells us exactly what to do and what not to do so then we can better understand how to live like Jesus did. It’s not always easy, but we know how.
When you look at these three commands, given to us through Paul, do they seem difficult? To me they seem like things that should be easy. We can see that we are given these commands because the Lords wants good things for us (and remember that anything good comes from God). So God gives these simple commands that will result in good for us. Yet can you say that you are truly following all of these commands all the time in your life? I wish I could, but I can’t.
I want to, though. I want to follow His commands in order to truly serve Him and be able to enjoy all the good things He has in store for us!
He wants us to be joyful. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will always be happy, but that we will have genuine joy that comes from rejoicing in the Lord.
He never wants us to stop praying. He wants us to be in constant communication with Him at every moment of the day. When we are happy, when we are sad, when we are angry, when we are frustrated, when we are tempted, when we feel guilty, when we are stressed, when we are relaxed, when we want to, when we don’t, no matter what, all the time we should be praying. I don’t know anyone on Earth who would be able to have me talk to them every second of the day and not get sick of me really fast. It amazes me that the Lord can no only tolerate hearing from me that often, but that He really wants to! He cares for me so much that He wants me to be in communication with Him all the time! I love that!
He wants us to be thankful in all circumstances. God has plans for us. And we know that God’s plans are SO much better than any plans we could come up with for ourselves. This means that whatever God is doing in our lives, whether it is something we like or something we’re not too sure of, God is doing it for our benefit. Therefore, no matter what we are going through, we should be thankful for it. What is there not to be thankful for? God has given His Son to bridge the gap between God and man that we may truly know and have a relationship with our Father without our sins getting in the way! I could spend my whole life thanking God for that and it still wouldn’t be enough time to thank Him for giving me what I never deserved.
And Paul tells us that these things are God’s will for the ones who belong to Christ Jesus. Just writing about this verse has made me so happy and joyful. It is so amazing what God does for us and the fact that He always wants the best for us.
Let’s try to live out these verses today. Today, no matter what happens, let’s remember to be joyful, to be thankful, and to never stop praying.
Today I was looking at this wonderful passage on the persecution and hatred of followers of Christ. This passage offers us comfort, but I think it can also be misunderstood and misapplied. I know it seems kind of straight forward, but I’ve looked at some commentaries to try to understand it better after hearing it used when it didn’t seem appropriate. I will share my insights and experiences relating to this passage, and you can comment and do the same.
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.
16 “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. 2 For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. 3 This is because they have never known the Father or me. 4 Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.
At first glance, this looks great. If anyone hates us, we have God on our side. The world hated Jesus as well. But it doesn’t necessarily work like that. We must be careful to pay attention to exactly what Jesus said and the context in which he was saying it. If we don’t want to misrepresent or misapply Scripture, we must be careful to pay attention to the context behind the words. Scripture has one meaning-the meaning that God and the author meant to convey. We cannot take their words and apply them without knowing the true meaning.
In this passage, Jesus is talking specifically to His disciples, His true followers, the ones who left everything they had, who gave up their old lives to have new lives with Christ. Do we really live this way today? If we did, the world would hate us. My favorite part of this passage is when Jesus tells His disciples that they do not belong to this world. He called them out of the world, and He calls us out of it as well. I absolutely love that because the things that go on in this world sometimes make me so sad. If we really had a heart like God’s, it would break our hearts to see the things that happen here. It would break our hearts to see people being used and abused and not being cared about or taken care of. I’m so glad we don’t belong to this world. We belong to our Savior and to our Father.
If we really lived like Christ did and like the disciples did, we would be hated by the world that we don’t belong to. And Jesus says we would even be treated worse that He was, because He is greater than us. As His servants, we are not greater than Jesus, our master. I wish I could say that I’m living out my faith enough to be hated for it. I think part of the issue is that at least in America, it seems like Christianity is the majority. But it’s not. Complacent Christianity is. Being “christian” will be accepted by the culture. Dropping everything you have to follow your Savior will not be. Would be we persecuted the way the disciples were if we live for Christ the way they did?
Jesus said all this to his disciples very soon before He was arrested and killed. He was preparing them for what the would endure after His death. But He reassured them, telling them that the Holy Spirit would be sent to testify about Jesus.
One of the things we need to be careful about is applying this verse to all situations where someone is hated or not agreed with. Jesus did not say that all people who are hated are doing right in the eyes of the Lord. He said to His true followers that the world would hate them. One of the major ways I’ve seen this verse used is when someone is being criticized by fellow believers, they use this verse to convince themselves that what they are doing is right and that they do not need to listen to listen to others or ask for prayer or Godly wisdom.
Right before this passage, Jesus commands His disciples to remain in Him and to love each other. I think that’s important to integrate into this idea as well. As followers of Christ, we need to love each other. The world will hate us, but we need to show love to each other. Therefore, I believe this verse should only be applied to being rejected by the world, not being disagreed with by fellow believers. However, we also have to keep in mind who is a true follower of Christ? It’s a fine line.
The main thing I got out of this passage is that I need to make sure that I am not loved by the world and that I do not belong to it. I would much rather belong to Jesus. What are your insights on this passage? How will you apply it to your daily life?
Today I have for us another wonderful promise from our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we don’t deserve it, He says we will grants us the rest that we all so desperately need.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
The words of Jesus in this passage are music to my ears. I so need this rest that He offers us. We all need it. Although we don’t deserve it, Jesus offers us so many wonderful amazing promises. When we are weary, when we cary heaven burdens, all we have to do is go to Jesus and he will give us rest. For me this isn’t every once in a while when I’m going through a hard time, I need Jesus. I need Him every single day, every hour, every minute. I need Him constantly. I need to remain in Him constantly in order to constantly receive the rest He offers to me.
People who know me know that I have a tendency to take on way too much and try to do it all by myself. I stress myself out trying to be perfect, especially when it comes to my studies. I’m slowly learning to depend on God for everything. He’s not asking me to get perfect grades. Although He does ask us to work hard in everything we do, He’s not asking me to stress myself out over things that could be taken from me at any second. The Lord grants rest to those He loves.
So what kind of burdens does He free us from? A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of oxen. It’s attached to the equipment that the oxen are to pull. A person many be carrying the heavy burdens of sin, earthly demands, religious leaders, oppression and persecution, or weariness in the search of God. Jesus gives us rest from all of that.
Something to consider especially is the demands of religion and legalism. That would have been common in the time of Jesus. The religious leaders were putting so many demands on the Jewish people. But Jesus came to set us free from that. We don’t have to live under the oppression on religion and legalism. Jesus grants rest for our weary souls. Sometimes even today Christian leaders put heavy burdens on people. But let us be taught by Christ. He is humble and gentle. His yoke is easy to bear and His burden is light.
So let us remember to go to Jesus when we need rest for our souls today.
“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This is a famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Apparently at one time Gandhi became attracted to Christianity and began to study the Bible. He liked what Jesus taught, so he tried to attend a church in South Africa where he was living at the time. However, the church did not allow him in because of his race. Does that sound like something Jesus would do?
Remember in elementary school when you would go on field trips and your teachers would tell you to behave because you were representing the school? If your class misbehaved at the museum, the museum employees would think your school is full of children who misbehave. Well, the same in true of everything in life. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are always representing everything you associate yourself with. You represent your school, your employer, your group of friends, your family, ect. And as followers of Christ, we represent Christ. Does the way you represent Christ push others towards Him or away from Him?
Why is it that Christians are not more like our Christ? There are some who genuinely strive for that, but there are others who want salvation and nothing more. Scriptures call us to imitate Jesus, to obey Him, and to live the way He lived. Here are a few examples:
1 John 2:3-6
3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
These are the last two verses in the bible (whether you’re reading it chronologically or the standard way). Revelation contains a lot of prophesies about what Heaven is like, about the end times, and about the return of the Son of God. I’m fascinated and confused by this amazing Book. It was written by John, Jesus’s youngest disciple. He was the only disciple who wasn’t killed for His faith. He was exiled to an island called Patmos which is where He saw the vision and wrote the Book of Revelation.
John sees terrible things in the vision from God, but he also sees wonderful and amazing things. He sees Jesus come to restore everything. He sees that in the end, everyone will know God and He will be glorified, and the Son of Man will be exalted. After everything John saw, I love the last thing that He says.
20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.
I love this, because this is how I feel! Jesus says He’s coming soon, and John says, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” We know that Jesus will come back to this Earth and set everything right. He is faithful, and He fulfills His promises. Yet even though we already know He is coming, we are to pray for Him to come back. Do you know what you’re saying when you say Amen? The word Amen literally means ‘so be it.’ I thought it was cool when I learned that.
This is found other places in the Bible as well. In the Old Testament, the Jews knew that they had been promised a Savior, but Daniel would pray for the Messiah to come. Even though He knows God is faithful and keeps His promises, He prayed for His people, because they needed to be saved from their sins. He prayed that Jesus would come soon.
Jesus also told us to pray for His return when He taught us the Lord’s prayer. When we say, “thy kingdom come,” we are saying God let your kingdom come to Earth, we’re ready for your Son to come back.
Are you ready for Jesus to come? Are you praying that God would fulfill His promise soon? Some people think I’m suicidal for wanting the world to end, but that’s not it at all. If it’s not in God’s plan for the world to end any time soon, then I will stay here and be faithful to Him all my life. I want His will to be done, not mine.
It’s just that this world is so messed up. It’s so far from what God intended it to be. It’s so broken. I’m so ready for Jesus to come make it right. I’m so ready for God’s name to be known and praised throughout the Earth. What God has in store for us in Heaven will not be able to compare to anything this World has to offer us.
So yes, Jesus, let it be as you have said. Please come back quickly. We love you.
And may the grace of Jesus, our savior, be with God’s holy people
As I was scrolling through my newsfeed today on Facebook, I noticed that someone had posted the quote “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.” I absolutely LOVE this quote. After thinking about it for a while, it reminded me of the passage about the rich young ruler. What an amazing story with so much to teach us! I chose the version from Mark to post about today.
17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
This is another great example of Jesus flipping everything upside down. The last will be first and the first will be last. God doesn’t operate the same way this world does. God looks at the intentions of our hearts.
To begin with, I want to talk about verse 18. It always used to confuse me, but I finally learned what it means. By calling Jesus good, he was essentially calling Him God. We use the world ‘good’ a lot today. Do we really understand that only God is truly good? I wonder how they used the word back then. By asking the man this questions, he was basically asking, “Do you know who you’re talking to? Do you know that I am God?” After reading that in a commentary, it made a lot more sense to me.
Now look at the first sentence in verse 21. It’s so great how Mark includes little things like this. Jesus loved the man even though he knew the man wasn’t going to follow him. Jesus loved us so much that He died for us knowing we may never follow Him. His love and compassion for this broken world never ceases to amaze me. One of the ways He shows His love to us is through His commands. Sometimes, I forget that these commands are out of love, but they are. God loves us so much that He wants to be with us! His commands are like directions to Heaven. Jesus gave the man instruction out of love. He wanted the rich man to receive eternal life, so He told him how to get to heaven. How sad that the rich man decided his money here on Earth was more valuable than the rewards his Father would give him in Heaven!
I think the main issue of this passage is the heart of the man. He kept all the commandments; he probably even kept the extra regulations that the Pharisees made up, but Jesus saw something lacking in him. He gave a challenge to the man that would expose what he had really placed his faith in. A person cannot love both God and money. You can serve only one master. if the man served God, he shouldn’t have had a problem giving up his wealth. His love of money stopped him from receiving eternal life.
This passage is about more than just money, though. It’s about our willingness to follow and serve God no matter what. It’s about choosing Jesus over everything else in this life. We must remove all barriers that keep us from being fully committed to Christ. Are you willing to give up everything in a heartbeat? Anything in this world can be taken from you in a second, but your treasures in heaven will not disappear.
The rich young ruler’s attitude made him unable to fulfill the first commandment which is to let nothing be more important than God (Exodus 20:3). Although the man thought he had kept this commandment, he was unwilling to serve God with his whole heart, since part of his heart was devoted to his money. Is there anything in your life that keeps you from being 100% committed to Jesus? Are you serving God with your whole heart and everything you have or is there something He wants to to give up. Are you willing to drop everything and follow Jesus? If so, He promises you eternal life. Nothing is worth more than than!
This is a great passage about not judging others. I think judgment is something most people struggle with. I know I do, along with a lot of other girls my age. I felt very convicted when I read this today. I love when Jesus convicts me with His Word. It’s the first step in the process of letting God change my heart as I am trying to become more like Christ. I wanted to share this with you today in the hopes that it would impact you like it impacts me.
7 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.
I always seem to need to be reminded that it is not my job to judge others. As hard as I try not to, I feel like judgement surrounds us in our culture today. It’s a natural response for us, because it’s what everyone does. As Christians, sometimes we get the feeling that we are better than other people who don’t share our faith in Christ. It’s sad, though, that what we are known for as Christians is our judgement of others. Instead, shouldn’t we be known for our joy in Christ and our love for others? For non-christians looking in, there wouldn’t be much incentive to be a part of something where there is so much judgment. We judge our brothers and sisters in Christ all the time! Why would someone want to come join us, only to be judged by us? Love is a stronger witness than hate every time. As followers of Christ, we are called to respond out of love rather than out of hypocritical judgment.
The scary part is that we will be judged in the same manor that we judge others! I’m not perfect. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I certainly don’t need to increase the strictness of the judgement on myself. But also, what right do I have to judge when I am no better than the people I judge? I am a sinner. Anything good I do is only possible through Christ. Therefore, I have no right to brag about my good deeds.
Something to be aware of, however, is that Jesus is speaking about the type of hypocritical, judgmental attitude that tears others down in order to build ourselves up. We are not called to simply overlook all wrong behavior. We need to be holding each other accountable as brothers and sisters in Christ. If I have a fault that I don’t notice about myself, I would want a fellow believer to lovingly point it out to me. Jesus calls us to expose false prophets (Matthew 7:15-23), and Paul calls us to exercise church discipline (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). We must make sure the right motives are behind our actions. Everything we do should be done out of love for God and love for people.
Now let’s look at verse 6. It seems a little out of place to me compared to the rest of the passage. I was confused by it, so I looked it up in a commentary. Bible commentaries help me out a lot when I don’t understand something. Basically what I learned about this verse is that pigs were “unclean” animals according to the Law of the Old Testament. Jesus is saying that we should not entrust holy teachings to people who won’t listen and just want to tear apart what we say. This is a hard concept for me to grasp, because we are also supposed to reach out to those who don’t know Christ. What I learned from this verse is that we should not stop giving God’s Word to unbelievers, but we should be wise and discerning in our witnessing so that we will not be wasting our time.
All in all, I got a lot out of this passage. It made me realize that God still has a lot of work to do on my heart. What did God teach you as you were reading this passage? In what ways do you need to become more like Christ?
Today in my reading of the Bible, I came across the beatitudes, which are amazing. One of the big things I noticed is that the beatitudes are in Matthew and also in Luke, but Luke includes a section that Matthew had decided to leave out. I want to focus on the passage from Luke in this blog today to include the sorrowful part of what Jesus was saying, along with the blessings.
This is part of Christ’s “sermon on the mount,” which is His longest recorded Sermon.
20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
21 God blesses you who are hungry now,
for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now,
for in due time you will laugh.
22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
24 “What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
for you have your only happiness now.
25 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
In the beatitudes (verses 20-23), Jesus pronounced blessings on those whom society normally looked down upon. Beatitude is taken from the Latin word meaning blessing. In these verses, Jesus describes what characteristics He looks for in His followers. What I love is that at the time, and even know, it’s so contradictory to the world’s view of being blessed and being successful.
It certainly changes my view on things to know that when I cry, it is a blessing from God and I should be happy about it. Money, prosperity, and praise are normally thought of as things the Lord would bless you with. It’s neat to know that the poor and hungry are really the ones being blessed. I notice that too. Sometimes, it’s the people to have the least that seem the happiest. They have such joy in Christ, and honestly sometimes I am jealous of them.
Each of the Earthly troubles comes with a heavenly reward. The Kingdom of God is the reward for the poor. Satisfaction is the reward for the hungry (either physically or spiritually). Laughter is the reward for those who weep now.
One of the reasons these things are blessings, is because these people know they need God. Those who are poor need to trust God to provide them with everything they need. They have to have faith. The hungry must rely on God to feed them. The ones who weep need to be comforted by God.
If you have never experienced pain, it would be so much harder to feel a need for God. Personally, it seems to be the times in my life when everything is going wrong that I am the closest to God. I’m so thankful that God brings me to such low points sometimes, because it reminds me of how desperately I need Him. Nothing on Earth can satisfy me like Jesus can, and I am so grateful that I have had hard times and been forced to learn that lesson.
Now what about the people who have sorrow waiting for them? Verses 24-26 would have been SO countercultural at the time, and still are today. But Jesus wasn’t afraid to make people mad. He was blunt at times and He spoke the truth. What upsets me is when people try to fit Jesus into a little box that they’re comfortable with. They turn what Jesus said into something that works in their favor. They water it down and say, “Well that’s not what He really meant.” Jesus wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t what He really meant. On the other hand, we do need to be aware of the context of Scripture in order to understand the meaning.
The rich, the prosperous, and the ones praised by the crowds were probably the ones persecuting Jesus and His followers. This was most likely a further explanation of the justice that God will deliver in the end. Part is this message from Christ, is that we should always be focused on Heavenly rewards, not Earthly rewards. Wealth, prosperity, and praise are Earthly rewards that we do not need as followers of Christ. We should never seek to glorify ourselves with our good works, but glorify our Father in Heaven. If we do, our reward waits for us in Heaven. All I want to to glorify the Lord in this life, and be with Him eternally. Whatever He has in store for us up there will not even be able to compare to anything this world can offer us.
May the Lord bless you in this life. May you always seek to glorify Him on this Earth. And may your true rewards be waiting for you in heaven.
I’ve read this story before, but this is the first time that verse 5 really stood out to me. It’s cool how God has different things for us to learn from the same passage at different times in our lives. That’s why it’s important to always be teachable. I don’t care if you have the whole bible memorized and go to church every day of the week; God ALWAYS still has something to teach you. It’s also neat how different people take away different lessons from the same passage, which is why I love hearing other people’s viewpoints on Scripture. They can point things out that I never would have noticed.
This story is in Matthew, Mark, and Luke; but there is a verse in Mark that isn’t in the other gospels that really got to me. Verse 5 is the verse I’m going to focus on, but again, I’m including more of the story for context.
3 Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. 2 Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
3 Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.”4 Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.
5 He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 6 At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.
Just look at verse 5 again… I love it! It really shows Jesus’s heart for the lost. The Lord was saddened by their hard hearts, because He deeply cared for them, and wanted them to be saved. He wanted them to recognize Him, to know Him, to love Him. That is what God desires for everyone that He created. But, like lost sheep, we turn away from our shepherd.
God is angered by the evil that exists in the world, and He is saddened by seeing that His people are lost. Does your heart break for the things that break God’s heart? Does it make you sad to see how lost the world is? Does it anger you when you notice injustice in the world? God wants is to care about the things He cares about, and He wants us to do something about it! If you notice, Jesus is saddened by the hard hearts of His critics, and then he heals the man! He does good works, performs miracles by healing people. Jesus cares for people in a way that the religious leaders did not. Their hearts were too hard. Jesus is the example we need to be following. Are we caring for people like Christ did?
The first time I had my heart broken over injustice was when I went on a mission trip to Chicago last spring break. The Lord showed me a small glimpse of His heart for the city. It was an eye-opening experience to see how His people live in the inner-city, and the injustices that occur there on a daily basis. I know there’s still so much more He has to show me, though. Something I pray for is to have His heart for the lost, and a passion to do something about it.
Do you have God’s heart for the lost in this world? Do you long to see them turn to Christ as much as He does? If so, what are you doing about it? How will you work to see more people saved? How will you fight injustice?
We’ve discussed John the baptist recently. His ministry is important at the beginning of the Gospel. We talked a little bit about his birth and his purpose when we read Luke 1:11-20. Now I want to talk a little more about John’s ministry which lead into the ministry of Christ. (Read the beginning of John 1 here: John 1:1-18)
19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”
24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”
First of all, this is another great example of giving all the glory to God like we saw Mary do in Luke 1:45-55. At this time, the Israelites were waiting for their Messiah. They were anxious to receive the savior they had been promised. The ironic thing is, when He came they did not recognize Him; they rejected Him. John could have taken credit for being the Messiah in order to gain Earthly praise, but it’s very apparent that John wants nothing to do with the things of this world. I admire that about him. Look at what he says in verse 27. He admits that he is not even worthy to be a slave of Jesus. That’s so true for all of us, but Jesus calls us His friend! What an honor that we don’t deserve!
The thing about this passage that really stands out to me is John’s wisdom and clarity in God’s purpose for him. We learned in Luke 1:11-20 that John was filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth! John knows who he is, and he knows who he is not. He quotes the prophet Isaiah when asked who he is and why he is doing what he’s doing. I love how he knows that this scripture is about him. He knows where he fits into God’s plan.
So my questions is: do we know where we fit into God’s plan? Do you know who God designed you to be? Are you fulfilling His ministry for you? I recently attended a conference where some awesome men and women of Christ asked God for “words of knowledge” in order to tell me about God’s original design for me. It was amazing to how well they knew me without even knowing me. They offered some great insight on who the Lord created me to be, and how I can use that for His kingdom.
I feel like I have a good understanding of who I am in Christ. I know the talents and passions that He has given me. My biggest struggle is what to do with them. I am constantly asking God what He has in store for my life, but He hasn’t revealed that to me yet. I believe that God has prepared work for each and every one of us to do. We each have a different and specific ministry that we are called to during our time here on Earth. He has designed each of us in a unique way, so that we may complete the tasks that He has called us to.
Are you as confident as John the Baptist? Are you sure of who you are and what your ministry is? I am still young, but I pray for wisdom, that God would show me what it is I am supposed to do with what He has given me.
Tonight in bible study, we studied James 3. The subject of this chapter is taming the tongue (something we could all use a lesson in). It spoke to me tonight in a way that it hadn’t before. I’ve read James a lot. It’s actually my favorite book of the Bible, but tonight God showed me a new perspective that I’d like to discuss with you.
1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
There’s so much good stuff here, I don’t even know where to begin! So I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Last year at the end of the school year, my campus InterVarsity staff worker asked me to lead a bible study for the upcoming school year (this year). I had never lead a bible study before, and at first I was worried mainly because of James 3:1. If not many people should be teachers, I didn’t feel that I was one who should teach. I didn’t want to be judged more strictly. I was confused by this verse. However, after praying about it, I agreed with my staff worker that it was the right thing for me to do. Later, the real meaning of this verse was explained to me. Teachers of the Word will be judged if they don’t know Truth and end up leading people astray. It’s a big responsibility, because people’s spiritual lives are in your hands. You will be judged as a teacher if you cause others to sin either by telling them things that aren’t true or by being a bad example or being a hypocrite and showing people who look up to you that’s how christians are supposed to behave. My hope for myself in this leadership role is that I would not be the one teaching, but that God would teach through me using me as His vessel. I struggle sometimes with pride and feeling like I’m a good person, because of being a leader, but that’s not what I want. All I want is for God to use me and for Him to have all the glory.
Now look at verse two. If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and able to control ourselves in every other way. That’s intense. It really demonstrates the power of the tongue. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it really is the hardest thing for us to control. From what I’ve read throughout the Bible, it seems to me that God thinks it is better if we do not speak unless there is a specific purpose to what we are saying and it adds value to the world. Can you imagine how different our society would be if everyone thought this way? One day we will be judged for ever idle word we have spoken. I don’t know about you, but there have been a lot of things that have come out of my mouth that were completely unnecessary. I think it is one of the most countercultural things we are called to do as Christians; we are called to not speak flippantly. Why should we talk with no meaning behind our words? We talk just to talk. This is the way of our culture, but not the way of our God, and this is one of those times where He wants us to go against what everyone around us is doing.
The next part is a little scary. The tongue has the power to control everything we do. Did you know your words had that much power? This isn’t the only time the Bible talks about it. It’s evident all over scripture, in the Old and New Testaments. When you read the Old Testament, you can see how serious blessings and cursing were to people, and even how important they were to God. The things we say are so important! Verse six tells us that it corrupts our entire body! This is why it’s so important that we actually start paying attention to the things that come out of our mouths. It’d be an interesting experiment to record yourself during the day or write down everything you say in order to force yourself to start paying attention to it.
Okay, read James 9-12 again. Have you ever said contradictory things as in Verses 9-10? I know I have. Honestly, I think it’s more of an issue with girls. I’m not saying guys don’t have a problem with it, but us girls love to talk bad about each other. It’s awful, but I find myself doing it too. This passage was such a good reminder for me today that those are some of the most unnecessary words. They can only cause destruction.
Overall, God challenged me a lot with this passage tonight, but it was great. It was what I needed to hear. I love when God shows me that I still have so many things to work on if I want to become more like His Son. I know that I can’t do it on my own, but God will always be there to help me when I humbly ask for help. He reminds me that I am nothing without Him and teaches me to rely more and more on Him. It’s great. (:
Lastly, let’s look at the fruits of true wisdom in verses 17-18. So amazing! Which fruits of wisdom do you see in your life? Which fruits are lacking?