Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grace to the Humble

1.      Pray with thanksgiving.  Ask for wisdom.  Pray for your Pastor and leaders.  Pray for the President and the government.  Pray for our nation to turn back to God and for true revival to start.
2.      Read and review James 3 through James 4:1-4.
3.      Read James 4:6.  I am so thankful that God gives more grace.  Can you think of times in your life when God gave you more grace?
4.      According to verse 6 who does God resist?  Why do you think He resists the proud?  Usually if someone is proud they do not think they need God or they do not want God because they think they can handle things on their own.  Define the word pride.
5.      According to James 4:6 who does God give grace to?  Define the word humble.
6.      Read James 4:7.  Who are you supposed to submit yourself to?  What does it look like to submit yourself to God?  It may help to define the word submit.  God is in charge and there is no need trying to fight Him to get our way.  He will discipline you when you get off track.  If someone has kept telling God no and disobeying Him then they will grieve the Holy Spirit and their heart may become hard and callous to God.  Make sure you daily surrender to God, yield to Him and put yourself under Him. 
7.      Who are you supposed to resist?  What does resist mean?  The Christian life is hard and we are in a battle daily with evil forces that we cannot see but we must resist.  We can use the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 to fight the devil with.  Read about the armor of God and make it a daily prayer to pray on the armor of God.  What happens when you resist the devil?
8.      Read James 4:8.  You can draw nigh to God through prayer (talking to Him) and singing to Him.  You must have a personal, intimate relationship with God.  Do not rely on church as your only way to be with God.  What does He say happens when you draw nigh to God? 
9.      Usually when you draw close to God He will show you your sin.  “Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts ye double minded”.  We can do what 1 John 1:9 says and confess our sins to God.  He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us. 
10.  Read Psalm 139:23-24.  Let God search your heart and purify your heart.  We must be single hearted and single minded, sold out to the Lord and nothing else.
11.  Read James 4:9.  We should sorrow over our sin because it grieves the heart of God.  I don’t always do this.  I need to be more sensitive of how awful sin is.  Do you ever cry over your sin?
12.  Read James 4:10.  The good news is that when we choose to humble ourselves before God He lifts us up and turns our mourning into joy when our sins are forgiven in His presence!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sexual Awareness Month

Congratulations on doing four and a half chapters of James!  I love the book of James.  It can be convicting and challenging, but we need that in our Christian lives, right!?  This time we are going to take a short break from the book of James to talk about something that is a burden on my heart.  After your prayer time we will talk about it below.
1.      Pray and thank the Lord for something He has done for you.  Sometimes we can get into a pity party thinking that the Lord has not been good to us.  I complain sometimes and get discouraged sometimes but then I look around me and realize that there are people out there who are lost and undone or sick with a disease and I immediately quit complaining and start thanking God for blessing me.  There is always someone out there who has it worse than you.  When we think about this it should also move us to pray for them.
2.      The past week I have been burdened for the purity of our young people.  Then I found out last night that the month of April is Sexual Awareness Month to aware people of the fact that 1 in 3 girls are molested and 1 in 7 boys are molested.  Child molestation and rape are crimes that are horrific and rarely reported or punished.  God hates these awful acts and He sees what is done in secret and will rightly judge those offenders one day.  One thing you can do is to protect your own children or grandchildren.  You do this by talking to them (or reading them the book “Yell and Tell” by Debi Pearl), praying for them, and watching them. 
a.      Talk to your children/grandchildren and tell them that there are some kids and adults out there who may try to touch them inappropriately and it is not right.  Tell them to YELL when it happens and TELL their parents about it without being embarrassed.  Be the kind of person/parent that your kids will feel open and comfortable talking to you about serious issues, but do not wait for them to bring these hard issues up.  You must bring these issues up with your children at home in a private conversation when your kids are at a young age (way before they are teenagers).  If you need help doing this ask Pastor John, pray, read your Bible and ask the Lord for wisdom in the matter.
b.      Pray for your children and grandchildren in this area.  Pray everyday that God will protect them from child molesters, rape, pornography and impurity.  Pray that they will be protected from witchcraft and every kind of evil that the enemy has in store for them.  Fight for your kids, go to battle for them in prayer with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  The most powerful thing you can do is to pray Scripture out loud over your family.  (Look in the back of your Bible for a word or topic and it will give you verses on it.  Or search topics for verses on the internet KJV).
c.       Watch your children.  Your children are a gift from God to you.  They are so precious to Him and He loves them very much.  I know we all love our kids too, of course but there are times when maybe they grate on our nerves so we send them away to play…or let them go to someone’s house to play that we don’t really know.  The enemy will find any way possible to try to ruin your child’s future for the Lord.  Be very protective of your children and where they go.  Keep a close eye on your kids when they are in a public place with people all around.  Evil can happen in a few minutes when we are not looking.  Now, don’t live in fear all the time about this, but do be sober and vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour!
Ask God if He sees anything in your life that He needs to change to better benefit your children.  Let’s fight together to protect the children! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friendship with the World

1.      Begin your devotion with prayer.  Pray for needs in your family and the church.  Ask for wisdom daily.

2.      Read James 4:1-3 in review.

3.      Read James 4:4-5.  “Ye adulterers” is talking about a spiritual adultery in this verse.  We are the bride of Christ and we commit spiritual adultery when we love other things more than Christ.  What do you think the Bible means when it says, “friendship of the world is enmity (ill will, mutual hatred) with God?” 

4.      Read 1 John 2:15-16 According to 1 John 2:16 what all is in the world?

5.      Read 1 John 2:17.  According to this verse what are the pros and cons of living for God or the world?

6.      Read Matthew 6:24.  No one can serve two _______?  Which one is your Master?

7.      Take a look at your life and make a list of the worldly things and godly things in your life.  On a day to day basis what or who governs (decides or determines) what you do…the decisions you make, what you pursue, what you buy, where you go, etc.  Are you serving God or money, God or the world, God or yourself?  This goes back to last week’s devotion on Galatians 2:20.  We must die to our self daily and be crucified with Christ and decide to let Christ be our Master, Lord and King.  He is a good God, a great King and One who is Worthy to be worshipped, served and praised!  We will never regret letting Christ be in control of our life!  The things I do regret are when I took the reigns back into my hands and tried to control things myself.  It takes trust and faith to blindly fall back into the arms of Jesus.  He will catch you every time though…He has the whole world in His Hands!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A thought for Resurrection Day

Read Galatians 2:20.  Dissect this verse using a dictionary.  Look up each word and read the verse with the meaning of the defined word.
Meditate  on this verse this week.
List things in your life that the Lord wants you to put to death or die or be crucified with Him….things in your flesh, sin, things that pull you away from Him.

Now list things to be resurrected in your life to take the place of the things you are getting rid of to be closer to Jesus.  Example: I am getting rid of watching a soap opera and will instead read my Bible or pray during that time.  Example: I am not going to read certain things or look at certain things and will instead listen to godly music.
Think about Jesus’ death on the cross and what He went through because He loves you.  Ask Him how He desires that you live for Him.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Needs vs Wants

1.    Do your daily prayer time for a few minutes.  Include thanksgiving and prayer requests from the church and your family.  Pray for your Pastor and his family as well.
2.    Review James chapters 1-3 if you have time.  Go over the things the Lord taught you and share it with someone.

3.    Read James 4:1 and compare it to Romans 7:23 and Galatians 5:17.

4.    Where do wars and fighting come from according to James 4:1?

5.    Read James 4:2.  Why do we have not?

6.    Read James 4:3.  Why do we sometimes not get what we pray for?             Define the word lust.  The Lord knows (and so do we) the difference between us praying for something we NEED versus something we WANT. 

List some of your needs.  Now list some of your wants.                                    God has always provided for my needs, food, clothing and shelter.  He has also provided for our bills (water, electric, car insurance, rent).  If we choose to live outside of our means then God may not always provide.  There have been times when I have wanted to go shopping but could not because there was no extra money.  The Lord taught me patience and self control through this.  There have been certain WANTS I have had that I have waited two years to buy.  This has also taught me patience and self control.  These are fruits of the Spirit.  The devil plays on our lusts (and so does the world and media) making us think we deserve to have it all now.  This is a hard truth to live by but I believe it pleases the Lord.  There is more freedom in living this way and more simplicity.

Evaluate your life in this area and watch how you pray.  Ask the Lord to give you discernment between your needs and wants.