Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Every work out routine has built in measuring points where you can measure your progress and development, whether it is a faster time for a mile or more reps or more weight that you lift – it is motivational to see growth!
James, accordingly, offers some progress points to measure how you are doing as you work out your faith. Let’s review them:
· Joy in suffering
· Obeying truth under pressure
· Treating everyone with dignity and respect
· Doing good deeds to validate your faith
· Controlling your tongue
How are you doing? How is your faith working out? Have you taken time to check your progress? If not, why not? What are you waiting for? Is spiritual growth not that important to you? If that’s the case, what’s the point? Why are you bothering with the hassle of faith if spiritual growth is not that important?
This morning as we close out the third chapter of James we have another measurement to deal with – the IQ test. It’s not the IQ test you are thinking about – the Intelligence Quotient. This one is far more important and much easier to measure.
Really? What is it?
This IQ test does not have anything to do with intelligence but it does involve wisdom. James defines wisdom as our knowledge of God displayed through godly living. By James’ definition your IQ stands for INTEGRITY QUOTIENT. God measures your wisdom by your integrity. That is what we will discover this morning!
Are you ready to check your IQ?
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:13-18
I. Human Wisdom, Vv. 13-16
Our world has plenty of knowledge and education, but that fact doesn’t always translated into wisdom. In fact, some times wisdom can be learned from relatively uneducated people – including children. Consider some examples of childish wisdom:
Patrick, age 10, wisely suggests, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
Randy, age 9, offers, “Stay away from prunes.” (How did Randy know that?)
Lauren, age 9, says, “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.” Her friend Naomi adds, “Fingernail polish does not make good lipstick either.”
Joel, age 10, contributes with, “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.”
Eileen, 8, says, “Never try to baptize a cat.”
(Ethel The Cow Give Auto Advice)
WISDOM BEGINS WITH KNOWING WHO TO LISTEN TO….
Marks of human wisdom:
1) bitter envy – an edginess, defensiveness, territorial, ready to attack anyone who challenges them or gets to close to exposing their folly.
2) selfish ambition – determined to impose their opinions and agenda no matter who they have to hurt.
3) disorder and evil practice - willing to divide and create chaos in order to gain power or promote their agenda. These attitudes delight in deceit and fancy themselves clever by their ability to confuse and control others. It originates in the heart of Satan and reflects his arrogance and evil.
Dwight L. Moody once told the fable of an eagle who was envious of another that could fly better than he could. One day the bird saw a hunter with a bow and arrow and said to him, "I wish you would bring down that eagle up there." The man said he would if he had some feathers for his arrow. So the envious eagle pulled out some feathers. The arrow was shot, but it didn’t quite reach the rival bird because he was flying too high. The first eagle pulled out another feather, then another — until he had lost so many that he couldn’t fly. The archer then turned around and killed the helpless bird. - Moody’s point was ‘if you are envious of others, the one you will hurt the most by your actions will be yourself.
Such is the danger and destruction of Human Wisdom……
II. Heavenly Wisdom, Vv. 17-18
In his book, “Tender Loving Heart”, James K. Krames writes, “There was a
young Christian man in a southern university. He made the football team as the starting split end. And he continually was before God saying, ‘Help me in the climax of moments to be absolutely honest. I pray for honesty--that one mark of integrity. I want to be that, Lord, and I’ll work on it through the season.’The rival team came that night, homecoming. He ran his route and went into the end zone. The quarterback shot him the pass and he got it low. He landed on it, and the referee shouted, ‘Touchdown!’ But that boy knew he had trapped the ball. (for you who aren’t into that, it means that he didn’t really catch it.) The stands were just cheering, you know, sending him on his way, the hero of the game. He said, ‘Wait a minute.’ Can you imagine this? Walked up to the referee and shook his head. He said, ‘I trapped it.’ The referee canceled the touchdown and they lost the game.Now you may not understand much about football, but you know what it is to be a fan. And that boy stood all alone, not only against a team that said, ‘What does it matter, man?’ but against the stands full of people. He said, ‘I can’t take the credit. I did not catch it.’
Marks of this wisdom:
1) pure – morally uncontaminated, perfect, pleasing to God, derived from truth
Do you operate from pure motives?
2) peace-loving - committed to promoting peace - Are you a peacemaker?
3) considerate – equitable, fair-minded, polite, gentle – Do you consider others?
4) submissive – compliant, anxious to obey – How is your obedience?
5) merciful – kindness, compassionate, especially to needy – Do you show mercy?
6) good fruit – works produced from the virtues of the heart – How’s your fruit?
7) impartial – not biased, kindly disposed toward all
8) sincere – genuine, authentic, no hidden agenda
THE DEGREE TO WHICH YOU LIVE THESE VIRTUES MEASURES YOUR I Q!
Heavenly wisdom is meant to be an Integrity Quotient.
All too often there is a disconnect between what Christians say they believe and how they actually behave. That disconnect is damaging to the faith and destructive to the church.
A pastor friend in Texas was in a hurry after work. He had to get to the mall for some items, go to his daughter’s school to pick her up, take her home, get to a Deacons meeting, and then to spend the evening in counseling sessions. Once in the mall, he saw an advertisement on a music store window that said, “2 CD’s for $9.99”. He loved music so much he decided he just had to take advantage of it. He went in and picked up 2 CD’s he really had been wanting, and went to the register to pay for them. He threw down with his money while talking to everyone around him- as pastors do. Then he picked up his bag and his change and went out of the mall. When he threw the bag in the front seat of his car, he noticed for the first time that the clerk had charged him $1.99 instead of $9.99 for those CD’s. His first thought was that he didn’t have time to go back in to get it fixed. But a small voice kept saying, “You don’t have time not to.”
So, he went back in, stood in the same line until it came his time to talk to the clerk once again. He said, “Look I’m in a hurry. You made a mistake. The sign says $9.99 and you charged me $1.99. Please make this correct so I can get on with what I have to do.”
She said, “Sir, I didn’t make a mistake.”
He said, “Sure you did. There is the sign, here is the receipt. Please make the correction.”
She said, “No, sir, I didn’t make a mistake.”
He said, “What do you mean?!!”
She said, “Can I tell you the rest of the story. Will you let me finish, please?”
He said, “Yes I will.”
She said, “For 17 years I’ve been out of church. Recently, my life has been falling apart and I needed to get back into church. I looked around at what was closest to me. I found the name of the church and I went there Sunday and slipped in and sat on the back row. The pastor that day was speaking on integrity. Sir, it happened to be your church. And when I saw you in my line, I wondered if this was something you preached on Sunday or lived on Monday. And I determined to find out.” Then she said, “Sir, I don’t even know the right questions to ask, but I know that whatever you’ve got I need. “ And then she began to cry. The manager, who happened to be a Christian, stepped in and took over the register, dismissed the pastor and then he led her to the Lord. Do you think she would have ever darkened the doors of a church again if this pastor had not gone back in?
WHAT IS YOUR IQ? I AM NOT ASKING HOW WELL YOU KNOW THE BIBLE?
I AM NOT ASKING HOW MANY VERSES YOU KNOW. HOW DO YOU LIVE?
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A Time of Consecration
Praise & Thanksgiving
Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Nehemiah 9:5-6
O Lord, we do not ask for our sakes, but for the sake of Your Holy Name,
which we have profaned among the nations where we have gone. Show the holiness of Your great name, O Lord.
Show Yourself Holy through us, before their eyes. Cleanse us from all our impurities and all our idols.
Give us new hearts and put a new spirit in us and give us hearts of flesh through Your Spirit,
that we may follow Your decrees and keep Your laws. You are our God.
Teach us to loath our evil ways and wicked deeds, to loath ourselves for our sins and detestable practices.
Cleanse us from all our sin.
Taken from Ezekiel 36, verses 22-33, 36.
Requests On Behalf of Missionaries
(Insert the name of the missionary in the blanks provided. Change pronouns where appropriate.)
I pray _________ will not be tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, I pray he will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15
I pray _________ will not throw away his confident trust in You, Lord. Help him remember the great reward it brings him! Patient endurance is what he needs now, so that he will continue to do Your will. Then he will receive all that You have promised. You said, "For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And My righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away." I praise You that _________ is not like those who turn away from You to their own destruction, but is among the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. Hebrews 10:35-39 NLT
I pray _________ is encouraged by this promise to stay in Your word: Your thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways Your ways, You have declared. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than our ways and Your thoughts than our thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is Your word that goes out from Your mouth: It will not return to You empty, but will accomplish what You desire and achieve the purpose for which You send it. Isaiah 55:8-11
Teach _________ that skillful and godly Wisdom is more precious than rubies; and nothing he can wish for is to be compared to her. Proverbs 3:15 AMP
I pray he will prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote him; she will bring him to honor when he embraces her. Proverbs 4:8
I pray he is attentive to Your Wisdom [godly Wisdom learned by actual and costly experience], and inclines his ear to Your understanding [of what is becoming and prudent for him], that he may exercise proper discrimination and discretion and his lips may guard and keep knowledge and the wise answer [to temptation]. Proverbs 5:1-2 AMP
We praise You that as _________ finds [Wisdom], he finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from You, Lord. Proverbs 8:35 AMP
I pray _________ knows that the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding. For by [Wisdom from God] his days shall be multiplied, and the years of his life shall be increased. Proverbs 9:10-11 AMP
I pray he also knows that the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33 AMP
I pray _________ knows skillful and godly Wisdom to be thus to his life; there shall be a future and a reward, and his hope and expectation shall not be cut off. Proverbs 24:14 AMP 2 ©Copyright, 2010 Pray the Word Ministries, Houston, Texas
I pray _________will be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that his labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]. 1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP
I pray that You, who supply seed to the sower, and bread for food, will continue to supply and multiply the seed _________ has sown and increase the fruits of his righteousness, 2 Corinthians 9:10
Watching for Divine Appointments -
For it is You, Lord, who works in _________ to will and to act according to Your good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Doing Their Part, God Doing His -
I pray _________ will remain in You, and You will remain in _________. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can we bear fruit unless we remain in You. …apart from You we can do nothing. John 15:4-5
Called as Faithful Witnesses -
You, Lord of the harvest, are the one who sends out workers into Your harvest field. Matthew 9:38
Choosing to Share -
I pray You will enable _________ to speak Your word with great boldness. Acts 4:29
I pray _________ remembers he can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees You doing. John 5:19-20
Getting to the Heart of the Matter -
Making No Assumptions -
Discerning Spiritual Needs -
Avoiding Pitfalls -
You, Lord, have given _________ the ministry of reconciliation: that You were reconciling the world to Yourself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And You have committed to _________ the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Presenting the Choice/A Time to Choose -
I pray the lost are brought to acknowledge Jesus before men, and Jesus will also acknowledge them before You, Our Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32
Seizing the Moment -
I pray _________ is wise in the way he acts toward outsiders; making the most of every opportunity. I pray his conversation is always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that he may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6
I pray he meets together with others, …and they encourage one another-and all the more as they see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
Following Up -
I pray he wrestles in prayer for new believers, that they may stand firm in all Your will, O God, mature and fully assured. Colossians 4:12b
Portions of this section were taken from The Faithful Witness, by Jerry Wiles
For this reason I kneel before You, Father, from whom Your whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen _________ with power through Your Spirit in his inner being, so that Christ may dwell in his heart through faith. And I pray that he being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that he may be filled to the measure of all Your fullness. Now to You who are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to Your power that is at work within _________, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-22
Thank You, Lord, that You supply all _________'s needs according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NKJV
Help _________ to remember that You are able to make all grace abound to him, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, he may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Corinthians 9:8 NASB
I pray _________ hearkens to [Wisdom], dwelling securely and in confident trust, and being quiet, without fear or dread of evil. Proverbs 1:33 AMP
I pray _________ does not forsake [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you. Proverbs 4:6 AMP
I pray _________ attends to Your words; consents and submits to Your sayings. I pray he does not let them depart from his sight; keeps them in the center of his heart. For they are life to him, healing and health to his flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22 AMP
Thank You, Lord! _________'s strong spirit sustains him in bodily pain and trouble. His happy heart is good medicine and his cheerful mind works healing. Proverbs 18:14a AMP, 17:22a AMP3
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The word "understanding" is a key word in this portion of Scripture. James used a word here that is used exclusively in this text and it connotes a "specialist". It takes a "specialist" to receive and properly apply wisdom. How would you like to be known as someone who specializes in wisdom? Could you live with that?
How do you know when someone is a wisdom specialist? Do they have a business card? Do they get a title? If you want to pick them out of a crowd what would you look for?
That is essentially the point of this portion of Scripture. A practioner of wisdom demonstrates a very distinct lifestyle. He has attitudes and actions that set him apart from those who do not understand true wisdom.
So, wisdom is intensely practical. It is not just subscribing to a particular set of beliefs or creeds. Wisdom is not a matter of what you know but what you show. Knowledge is important and you certainly must know the correct things. But simply having head knowledge doesn't guarantee a change of heart or behavior. The world is filled with highly educated and very knowledgable people who live ungodly lives because knowledge tends to puff up a person with pride. Pride and wisdom are mutually exclusive.
Show me a wise person and I will show you a humble person. The wise person understands that knowledge brings power and he respects that power. Wise people understand that there is a responsibility that comes with knowledge. Humble people live under accountability to the power and the responsibility of knowledge.
The wisest man who ever lived summed up the wisdom, knowledge and understanding interface this way, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will dirct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
Do you need to "wise up"? Are you trusting in what you know or are you living out what you believe? Has your knowlege puffed you up with pride or has it humbled you? Do you seek to use your knowledge as leverage to promote yourself at the expense of others?
The truth remains, if you really believe it your life will show it.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Need to wise up?
Live up to you level of knowledge!
The third pastor said, "My secret sin is gossiping and, oh boy, I just can't wait to get out of this room!"
How many of you remember a hurtful thing said to you 20 years ago or longer?
WHAT JAMES TELLS US ABOUT THE TONGUE
Leaders must have their tongue under control, V. 1
James says don’t try to be a leader if you don’t have your tongue under control. I am going to share some things with you later that will make this even more clear, but there is enough right here to make the point.
Leaders and teachers have significant impact on the hearts and minds and spirits of people under their influence. Because that is true they will be judged severely by God – and for that matter, by man – as that is as it should be!
If you are assuming the role of a leader or a teacher and your life is out of control and your tongue occasionally spews poisons and hurtful stuff you are in a world of hurt and you are creating a world of hurt. Do yourself a favor and do God a favor and do everyone else a favor and step out of leadership until you get it under control.
Controlling the tongue is a test of spiritual maturity, V. 2
Before they speak, spiritually mature people ask themselves:
• T—Is it true?
• I—Is it inspiring?
• N—Is it necessary?
• K—Is it kind?
If we can’t answer any of these in the positive, then we should think twice about saying anything.
Controlling the tongue is very difficult, Vv. 3-9
An out of control tongue is very destructive
Like a wild untamed beast
Harriet, the church gossip and self-appointed supervisor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked all afternoon in front of the town’s only bar. She commented to George & others that anyone seeing it there would know that he was an alcoholic. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment & walked away. He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Harriet’s house and left it there all night.
Like a fire,,,,,
At 9:00 p.m., Sunday evening, October 8, 1871, the great Chicago Fire began on DeKoven street in a barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. The fire would burn for the next two days; before it was finished it would blacken three and one half square miles of the city and destroy over 17,000 buildings before it was checked by gunpowder explosions on the south line of the fire. The fire left over 100,000 people homeless and cost over 300 lives. But, ironically, that was not the greatest inferno in the American Midwest that year. Historians tell us that on the same day that dry autumn a spark ignited a raging fire in the North Woods of Wisconsin which burned for an entire month, taking more lives than the Chicago Fire. A veritable firestorm destroyed billions of cubic yards of precious timber—all from one spark!
Like deadly poison….
Someone has calculated that for every word in Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, 125 lives were lost in World War II. Perhaps our words will not cause wars or wreck cities, but what we say can break the heart of loved ones, ruin reputations and destroy friendships. Worse still is the knowledge that our words can destroy souls, sending them into eternity without Christ. How many people have been turned away from following Christ because of intemperate words of God’s professed people!
Josh McDowell shared, “Before I discovered that my cell phone had a lock screen button I would often accidentally dial the last number in my cell phone’s registry. The biggest problem was that I never realized that it had happened. I would go on with normal life and my cell phone would be on for an extended period of time without my knowing that it was on. When I would discover that it was on… either when I picked it up to make a call or when the person on the other end would hang up, and call me back to laugh at me, I would have this strange fear overcome me. What did I say, when I didn’t know that someone else was listening? Did I gossip? Did I say something evil? Did I make a joke that I would not want the person on the other end to know about? Well that it is how it is with the Holy Spirit all the time! It’s like your cell phone has accidentally called God and you didn’t know it. Would you live your live differently if every conversation and ever thought you ever had was being accidentally broadcast across the cell phone in your pocket to your Pastor? Well it is not being broadcast to your Pastor, but your every thought and the ear of God hears every word!”
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT YOUR TONGUE?
TRY TO MANAGE IT?
LET GOD DEAL WITH IT?
"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks," states Matthew 12:33.
“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'9For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean';” Matthew 15:18-20
"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37
Four Fundamental Heart Problems:
Guilty Heart – Guilt says, “I owe you” – (I took something from you)
Guilty Hearts Give Excuses
Guilty Hearts Accuse Others
Angry Heart– Anger says, “you owe me” - (you took something from me)
Angry Hearts Are Hurtful – They Blame You
Angry Hearts Are Hateful – They Burn You
Greedy Heart – Greed says, “I owe me” – (I will take something for me)
Greedy People Complain
Greedy People Center On Themselves
Jealous Heart – Jealousy says, “God owes me.” – (I missed something)
Jealous People Criticize
Jealous People Compare
Jealous People Celebrate
So, what should I do?
Deal with your heart issues! Get your heart right to get your tongue under control.
To Deal With A Guilty Heart – confession (to person offended)
To Deal With An Angry Heart – forgiveness
To Deal With A Greedy Heart – generosity
To Deal With A Jealous Heart - celebration
If you want to tame the tongue – get to the heart of the problem!
Proverbs 18:21 – “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” James 3:10
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Did you ever have a perfect teacher? I'm sure you would remember if you did!
I had some very good ones. Each of them impacted my life in significant ways. But I can't say I ever had a perfect teacher.
What would a perfect teacher look like? How would you know?
James comments on that. He says that a perfect teacher is one who never says the wrong thing and therefore, says the right things. If a person can control his tongue he will have his life under control.
You can trust someone like that! You can learn from someone like that!
And, his challenge is this: until you get your speech under control, don't aspire to teach. Teaching and leading is far too important to leave to immature amatuers. Teachers and leaders have tremendous influence and if they have not gained control over their toungue they will disgrace themselves, discredit the Gospel and do harm to others.
When I was a kid my mom always said, "What you say is what you are!"
James agree with that! If you say you are a leader or a teacher but if your speech and your conversations are negative, or untrue, or unkind, you will betray your immature heart.
Leaders lead by example and teacher's lessons are "caught" as they are taught. Words mean things and have powerful significance. Therefore, the words of a teacher must come out of a mature, consecrated, and learned heart. Until then, don't be in a big rush to teach.
How is your heart? How are your words and your speech? What are you willing to do to change?