QTVOTD: All Glory to God for Every Good/Perfect Gift…

One of the big things I have learn later on here in my sanctification is how important it is to be on the lookout for God’s hand moving in our lives. It is not ok to see a promotion that we were not expecting or running into an old friend we have not seen in years, or any other random ‘gift’ we receive without giving God all the glory and credit for that gift. We must walk this earth with grateful hearts when anything good come our way.

17 Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].
18 And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself]. James 1:17-18

I really like how James counters the “God does not tempt” with “God gives every good and perfect gift”.    The words used for good and perfect gifts are different and both are used here. Our Father who gives these gifts is unchanging in His generosity even though the heavenly bodies (nature) ARE ever changing. 

The greatest of these gifts is the gift of redemption through the Word of Life or Gospel where we are the first fruits or first of the transformed creatures when we are justified by our trust in His Son. 

I am so grateful for Gods unmerited favor toward me by allowing me a path to spend eternity with Him through His Son Jesús Christ. I owe everything to Him and my worship through obedience and service is the least I can do here on this earth before He calls me home.

QTVOTD: The choices that precede every sin…

This passage is so appropriate for anyone who struggles with temptation of any kind (psst, thats all of us). We should be slow to dismiss the thoughts or actions that have been precipitated by an opportunity to change course. My road to sanctification is paved with insights on avoidable sins by learning how to properly deal with the ‘Temptation’ that immediately precedes those sins.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. James 1:13

Straight and to the point. God does not set temptation before us…it is out of our own sinful heart that we are presented with the opportunity to sin. I have heard people blame God for their temptations they deal with; this verse is the direct counter. However, God does ‘TEST’ us. He tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Issaac and God tested the children of Israel many times. Don’t let ‘temptation’ be confused with ‘testing’.

14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). James 1:14

I had to read this verse several times to catch the subtle lesson. We are tempted WHEN we are drawn away! Stay close to God through His word and prayer! The picture I have stated many times in this blog is that I envision myself hugging the shins of God; like a little child…like little Brooklyn does with me a lot of times. It is when we are drawn away that we are enticed and baited by OUR OWN evil desires. Powerful!

15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. James 1:15

As we give into that temptation, allowing the evil desire to be pursued and acted upon. Then the scary statement – “and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death”…Yikes! One thing God does promise us is that He ALWAYS provides us a way out of the temptation we find ourselves in… we just have to choose against the path that leads to sinning.

QTVOTD: Well done…and now here is a crown…

I spent my quiet time with the Lord today on just this one verse. My Life Verse (Passage) is Psalms 1:1-3 which also starts out with “Blessed is the man…” so I feel compelled to dwell here a little bit.

"Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12 [AMP]
  • Blessed is the man…
    • …who is patient under trial – What this says to me is, “Not my timing but God’s timing”. I think we can rush to quickly to use our own means to rush out of or fix a trial; not leaning on God to 1) bring us through it and 2) being patient to learn what God is teaching us in it. I think that sometimes we forget to look at how God’s hand is moving in our trail; what He is doing in the midst of our trial. Missing opportunities to observe God at work which in turn grows our faith.
    • …who stands up under temptation – In most translations, temptation is not used but the Greek word ‘peirasmos’ can mean either ‘Trial’ or ‘Temptation’, so I am glad that the Amplified includes this. Standing up under temptation to me is turning away (a 180-degree turn) when confronted with a temptation. Praying when an impure thought comes into my mind, looking away immediately when I see something that can spark a lustful thought, saying no and walking away when I am tempted to buy something I don’t need.

When he has stood the test AND been approved – To me this is a combination of behavior modification and a condition of a man’s heart toward God. It is not enough to quickly look away from an image that can produce a lustful thought; it is also to bear one’s mind away from reliving what little I did see, or letting my mind run further with the lustful thinking of what I may have missed after I turned away. God’s focus is on my heart more than my actions. When I am focused on pleasing Him, then my heart will be a heart that has no place for fleshly thinking or pursuits.

…he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him – The reward for passing the test and being approved is that the man receives a crown of life. What does that mean??? The best thing I can think of is that it is gift given at the same time my Savior says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” When I pursue pleasing God more than man in my life here on earth, I will receive a recognition of managing this life well. The crown does not save the man, but it is a recognition of choices, actions, and heart condition the man has achieved while here ‘under the sun’.

QTVOTD: Earthly comfort does not equal Heavenly reward…

Very busy day today with work, managing the littles (Brooklyn[3] & Prim[6]), Homecoming Football game which was also my eldest’s (Bella[18]) last football cheerleading game, and all of us being under the weather somewhat. I realized that I am getting old…things are harder than they used to be and I get tired faster.

However, today’s quiet time (although late) was wonderful – James 1:9-11

9 Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God],

10 And the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown his human frailty], because like the flower of the grass he will pass away.

11 For the sun comes up with a scorching heat and parches the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away. Even so will the rich man wither and die in the midst of his pursuits. 

This passage has been a bit of a controversy across scholars and theologians for quite some time.  Some believe that the “poor” people referenced are believers and the “rich” are unbelievers, but for me, this just doesn’t hold water when you look at the context of the rest of James’ writing.

Instead, I think James is talking about two different types of believers, and what they should hold fast to. The poor only have the Lord because of their status in society, lack of belongings, and material things. Where the rich have a lot of earthly comforts, money and status, and need to focus on the humility of being under an Almighty God, and be more like Christ, who humbled himself.  

As Christians in a first world country, we need to keep our relative wealth in check. We must not allow the comfort of our refrigerators, our cozy homes, and our career positions be the thing that keeps us from leaning into the Lord for everything that we are and everything that we need. All of these earthly things will just pass away, so why not focus on the only thing that will last… the providential and sovereign eternal redemption we have through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

QTVOTD: Want Wisdom? Ask for it…

Today was a great day where I prayed about half my way to work. Praying about my own needs of the Lord in my life and the strength to persevere and asking for a louder voice from the Holy Spirit. Multiple times today, stopping and praying, even for the simplest things.

I have a deep desire to constantly be in the presence of the Lord and Bella’s (my oldest) life passage has washed over me.

One thing I ask from the Lord. THIS only do I seek; that I might dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him in His temple. For in my day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling, He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalms 27:4&5

Today my Quiet Time passage was James 1:5-8. God is so faithful to give us wisdom when we ask for it but it must come with faith and action on what He delivers in that wisdom…

5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

This is all the time for me. When I attempt to use my own wisdom, I run the risk of self-sufficiency and the belief that it was my own work that attained a result or reward. Even when I have confidence that I know how to approach something, I still request wisdom from God before acting. It is a personal culture of resting in the will and purposes of a God Who knows all things.

6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.

I have found that there are several ways to look at this verse and I should do the word study to get a more contextual understanding of what James was getting at. Most times I see this a believing that God will indeed give me the wisdom and then to act on the wisdom given. If I question the wisdom I have asked for then I am susceptible to choosing another path contrary to that Godly wisdom that has been granted.

7 For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,

The consequences of doubting that wisdom and questioning the insight the Lord has given, likely means that the faith that begets prayer is weak and not in God in at all…it is a faith in oneself and own thinking that leads them astray. This verse is one of the verses that supports the verse that says, “but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]. James 1:5-8

This verse is pretty self-explanatory. I know people like this -> flighty, indecisive, and in a lot of cases, not trustworthy.

QTVOTD: A study of James…

Today I am starting a study of James with a dear friend and accountability partner. I will be posting a daily consumption/takeaway from my reading of the day. I had taken ‘another’ break from posting here on the site but when I came here to do a search for a post I made several years ago, I was taken aback by the volume of what I had written…so I am going to get back in the swing of things.

If nothing else, this is a legacy for my wife and kiddos that they can come back to and consume as devotionals or just what God was revealing to their dad on his walk through this life and aspirations to be more like Jesus and Glorify God above all else.

Today’s post — James 1:1-4 [Amplified]

​​1 JAMES, A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad [among the Gentiles in the dispersion]: Greetings (rejoice)!

The 12 tribes are the dispersed Christ believing Jews scattered throughout the nations.

2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

When we trust that our obedience to God enables the direction and hand of God to go before us; all trials and temptations should be viewed as opportunities to use that circumstance as a coveted classroom and education on how to more fully serve and bless God. Whether hit with a trial or in the midst of one.

Some versions [AMP] have “falling into temptation” also mentioned. I for one, feel guilt and shame with the pang of thought and enticement regarding temptation. I think what James may be meaning here is that we absolutely should be remorseful and confess our sins, but to be joyful that the Lord allows for opportunity to learn from and grow a strength from God to overcome. THAT -> is exciting and something to be joyful about.

3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

The more we see God’s grace through His Son played out, the greater our appreciation and trust becomes. We also receive patience with others because we learn our own tendencies to sin and the pain that comes with it.

4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

Do not downplay the endurance, steadfastness, and patience or we may quench the work God intends to do through these attributes. When we embrace endurance, steadfastness, and patience, we will be transformed into perfectly developed people (as much as we can be in our flesh here on earth), lacking in nothing needed to navigate this sin broken world before our death or Christ’s coming.