He must become greater; l must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speak as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. John 3:30-36
James the brother of Jesus wrote this letter to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations ” (James 1:1). It isn’t clear if this reference is to Christians in general or to Jewish believes specifically. Perhaps James, a leader of the early church in Jerusalem, wrote this letter to those who were scattered by persecution (see Acts 8:1;11:19). His message, however, is clear: Christianity is more than head knowledge of Bible stories, creeds or Scripture reference. Faith is more than claiming salvation, for if faith is not accompanied by action, it is not faith. Our belief in Jesus must move from our heads and hearts into our daily lives.
And what does that look like? One who has true faith, James declared, watches his or her tongue, perseveres in trials, shows mercy to the poor and helpless is humble, is patient in suffering and obeys the Word of God.
There are so many rich lessons to learn in the book of James and so many behaviors to model for our children and grandchildren. But the real issue is the condition of our hearts. It’s about our motives. It’s about wisdom and what we have learned about being “peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere ” (James 3:17). If we do these things, our grandchildren will see that our faith is more than words-it’s Jesus alive in us.
Verse to Remember James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to all those who trust and take refuge in Him. 2 Samuel 22:31
Nehemiah 8:10 says, ” Be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Being happy and joyful makes you strong, and being mad or sad makes you weak. But the Lord is a Shield, and the Lifter of your head (see Psalm 3:3).
Satan isn’t after your joy; he is after your strength. The devil wants you too weak to pray. He wants you worn out and burned out. But the Lord will lift your head and shield you from the devils plot against you, if you put your trust in Him.
Starting Your Day Right/ Devotions for Each Morning of the Year
God never speaks words to make us feel bad about ourselves. True conviction is a positive thing that moves us into a new level of holiness. The devils condemnation presses us down under a heavy burden so that we cannot even hear from God. If you sense God speaking to you about something in your behavior, how do you know it is God? You will know because He will not shame you or put you down, but He will motivate you and empower you to change. I could not make progress until I learned to discern the difference between conviction and condemnation, and I do not believe you can either. Remember: Conviction makes you aware of a problem and then lifts you up and out of it. Condemnation makes you feel guilty, presses you down, and keep you “in” the problem. -Joyce Meyer-
(Read John 3:16-18) & (John 3:19-21)
Early In Life, I Learned To Listen To The Lord, and this most important lesson is the foundation of my confidence in Him. Moreover, because I pay attention to the Father, He has given me courage in my convictions, strength in times of trouble, and unspeakable joy.
My grandfather impressed upon me the importance of opening my spiritual ears. He didn’t say, “Now, Charles, you’ve got to listen ” but instead described how the Lord was speaking to him and what He was saying. The powerful evidence of Grandpa’s faith gave me a burning desire to hear the Lord, too.
No person can hear without actively listening. God taught me how, and it is this important lesson that I pass on to you: Heeding the Lord begins with meditation upon His Word. I listen prayerfully and expectantly for what He is saying to me through the passage. The Lord is not secretive. He illuminates Scripture to those who desire to know its meaning and are willing to abide by it. Often that requires patience. God reveals His truth when a believer is ready to hear. I continually return to a portion of the Bible until His message to me is clear. Sometimes that means going over the same passage for days at a time.
God will speak with clarity to anyone who listens prayerfully and submissively. He wants to speak to you–His great desire is for you to know Him as intimately as did Moses, David, Paul, and others like them. Dig into the Bible every day, and listen to what the heavenly Father is communicating to your heart. –IN TOUCH–Daily DEVOTIONS-Charles F. Stanley
Learning To Listen To GOD is an essential part of following His will. The Lord regularly speaks to His children through… SCRIPTURE. The Bible is our guidebook to God’s thoughts and actions. It is the primary source for Christians to discover His character and learn to trust Him. This means we ought to read more than just a little bit every day. Our goal should be to absorb the message and then listen for God to offer instructions on how and where to apply His Word.
PRAYER. Like all real friends, the Lord desires give-and-take in His relationships. Therefore, prayer is not complete when we’re done talking. We must quiet our mouth and thoughts so that our spiritual ears can open.
CIRCUMSTANCES. In the Bible, the Lord often revealed His ways to men and women through their circumstances. He still works that way today. Situations differ, but our God does not change. He uses everyday life to reveal errors in thinking, to open or close doors of opportunity, and to prove His promises true.
OTHERS. Pastors, friends, and mentors can all speak truth into a person’s life. The Lord palaces believes in community so they can be supported and helped by those nearby. He doesn’t hesitate to send a message from the mouth of someone we know and trust.
God does not use just one or two of these methods to reach a believer; He speaks through all four. We need to attune our spiritual ears, always remembering that a message from the Lord must agree with His holy Word.
The Father is talking to you. Are you listening? –IN TOUCH–Daily DEVOTION -Dr. Charles Stanley
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with Him and His disciples, for there were many who follower Him. Mark 2:15
(Read Mark 2:13-17)
For the years of His ministry, Jesus had no permanent home. He stayed in other people’s homes and at other people’s meals. He told some would-be followers that though birds and animals had nests and lairs, He had no place to lay His head. Yet Jesus had a strong sense of home- God was His home. Even at twelve, He wanted to be in His Father’s house.
But His lack of a place of His own meant that He offered the people He met a chance to show hospitality. And so we keep reading in the gospels of invitations to meals that Jesus accepted-sometimes with pleasure, sometimes with frustration.
I saw the gift of hospitality worked out in my parents’ lives. In spite of never owning a physical house in their forty-seven years of marriage, they were continually opening their home-wherever or whatever it was-to others. Even in the Japanese internment camp in China during World War II, our family of four would have one or another of the single folk up to our cubicle (we shared one seventeen-by-forty-five-foot room with nine other people) to eat with us and share our “homeness” And though he lived alone for ten years after my mother died, my father still invited people over to share his homemade turkey soup on Sunday after church-often a newcomer, or one or two single people.
Lord, forgive me for feeling I must wait until my house is in perfect order before I can invite others in. Help me to remember that a home is created far more by the spirit of the people who live in it than by its physical perfection.-Mary Ruth Howes-
Spiritual Growth: Dear Lord, today I pray my grandchildren spiritual growth. I ask that You instill in them the desire to read and memorize Your Word. Give them a passion to be in conversation with You. May loving and serving You be part of their daily lives. I ask that You stay close to them and lead them to be transformed to Your likeness, to reflect Your grace and to radiate Your love. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen!! Amen!!