October 29, 2008

Playing Favorites

Yes, we are slowly making progress through the book of James. I spend days pondering the challenges that he offers here. Thank you for your patience.

James chapter 2 examines our heart by watching our actions. Favoritism, or prejudice as we call it today, is a subtle temptation. We can look down on someone for having more resources than we do or for having less. We can be irritated that someone has higher standards that make "us" feel guilty. We can be prideful about a family that lets their kids watch "that" show.

James 2:8-9: If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself,"you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. The law will always judge according to God's holy standard; never does it compare us to other people. We do. We feel more righteous than other people. We feel more kind, more forgiving, more open minded than the guy we are judging. What a trap!

James closes with this warning: give mercy because you need mercy. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (2:12-13) Aren't we grateful for that?

In order to reduce and prevent favoritism and judgement from creeping into our lives, let's work on increasing the mercy that we offer each day.

October 7, 2008

Wisdom and Power

We know that the Holy Spirit is a counselor. (John 14:26) His wisdom can help us navigate through life. But are we receiving the benefit of the power of God through the Spirit?

Look at 1 Corinthians 2:6-13:
"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words."

Through the Holy Spirit, we can better understand God’s Word and His best plans for us. Through wisdom, we have up to the minute insight for life’s big decisions but also our daily choices. This can be developed in us as we mature in our walk.

But, we often need the power of God, and we don't realize that we have access. This power is our supply line for the miracles, signs, wonders and breakthroughs that we need. Do you ask for God's power when you are stuck? Or have you given up on a rescue from the Lord in your situation? Let's not forget that we have been offered power. So often ,we settle and ask for patience only. Let's develop this power by making sure that our lives match our Spirit filled theology. God offers freedom to us through His power. We can break the bondage of sin; we can be set free from fear or generational curses or out of control lives. Look at I Corinthians 2:4: "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

The good news is that we don't have to guess what He is saying to us. We are encouraged to lean in close and hear what His wisdom will say and to see what His power will do. He is our rescue. We are blessed to have access to Him. Yes. . .we have the mind of Christ.

"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?

But we have the mind of Christ." (I Corinthians 2:16)