Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 12, 2012

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion  blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;  so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge."  Psalm 51:1-4

If it were a modern politician it would be a major scandal.

If it were a movie it would be "R" rated.

If it was an average citizen it would have been a capital offense.

If it was a modern soap opera it would be a hit.

What am I referring to?

I am referring to a heinous deed involving adultery and the murder of a brave, loyal and innocent man.

How deplorable!

Who would do such a horrible act? What sort of an evil and cold-blooded criminal would perpetrate such an evil act?
None other than King David, the greatest King of Israel and one of most passionate followers of God.
David, the Psalmist?

Yes, that David!

How do you ever recover from such a shameful act?

That is what Psalm 51 deals with. He repented with great sorrow and sincerity. God accepted his repentance and had mercy on him.

While God graciously forgave David He didn't deliver him from the considerable and painful consequences of those sins. David suffered significantly from his sins for the rest of his days.

This story is very uplifting because of the way it demonstrates the incredible grace and mercy of God.

However, it is extremely unsettling because the thought of a man as passionate about God and in possession of such a high level of character is capable of committing such despicable sins, who is safe from falling?

No one! Not you, and  not me! Each of us are selfish and sinful by nature.

Take caution! Be careful! Stay humble and surrendered!

July 11, 2012

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."James 2:26

Interesting isn't it?
Christianity is known as a "faith" or a "religion" or a "belief" and yet James closes out this chapter by declaring that faith without deeds is dead. In short he says, "Believing alone is not enough! The thing that gives life to your faith is what you do to give expression to what you believe."
The Book of James is known as being the guidebook for practical Christianity. You might say James is "Christianity 101". And it is written to the Church spread abroad following the persecution in Jerusalem. So, he is telling them that they are the first generation of the Church and of believers that their communities are going to see. What their neighbors think about the Church and the Faith will largely depend upon them!
Those things being true, you might think James would have spent more time dealing with doctrines and Biblical insights. But, instead, he gets right down to the issue of their witness and their testimony. How are they to live out their faith? What actions and lifestyle will they demonstrate as validation for their faith? That is what matters to James.
I believe that is what matters to your neighbors and your boss and your co-workers - how do you live? Are your actions and attitudes saying more than your words? Because if they don't, your words will have no credibility.
Too often, Christians allow themselves to get caught up in the debate over this doctrine or that doctrine or what version of the Bible is best and lose sight of the fact that it is their personal witness that will convince the unbeliever. I have seen Christians ignore obvious bad behavior among its members and then hammer them because they don't line up with some insignificant Biblical point.
Is James saying that it doesn't matter what you believe? Is he saying that we should fake it even if we don't believe it?
Obviously not! The point is very simple and basic, your faith is only as valid as the actions and attitudes it develops in you. You won't act right if you don't believe right. But your belief needs a means of expression and that is how you act. If you testify to godly beliefs but live like the devil it will do no good!
James was not from Missouri but he knew we live in a "show me" world. He is telling these first generation Church members, "show 'em what you got"!
How about you? What will you show to day? Will your actions animate your faith or kill it?