Evil Motives – Not An Attribute Of God

For those who would like to pick apart the subject that I chose, you may first want an analysis of what ‘Evil Motives’ mean, because most Christians will try to tell us that they have none! But consider the example used by James in our Scripture today and decide whether you, or your church leadership, would act any differently! God is not happy when we act based on evil motives. Do you welcome the poor, underdressed and hungry into your home, or your church services each week? Stay with me as we meditate on this today!

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-10-21
WRITTEN AT: Bostic, NC

BIBLE REFERENCE: James 2:2-4
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: If an affluent gentleman enters your gathering wearing the finest clothes and priceless jewelry, don’t trip over each other trying to welcome him. And if a penniless bum crawls in with his shabby clothes and a stench fills the room, don’t look away or pretend you didn’t notice—offer him a seat up front, next to you. 3-4 If you tell the wealthy man, “Come sit by me; there’s plenty of room,” but tell the vagrant, “Oh, these seats are saved. Go over there,” then you’ll be judging God’s children out of evil motives.

OBSERVATION: For those who would like to pick apart the subject that I chose, you may first want an analysis of what ‘Evil Motives’ mean, because most Christians will try to tell us that they have none! But consider the example used by James in our Scripture today and decide whether you, or your church leadership, would act any differently! God is not happy when we act based on evil motives. Do you welcome the poor, underdressed and hungry into your home, or your church services each week? Stay with me as we meditate on this today!

APPLICATION: In my early church days I experienced a few church leaders who thought they would help two young men by telling them how they should dress the next time they consider coming to church. This was not a helpful thing for the church, nor the young men, because they never came back to church again. So let’s consider what might be our lesson taught in these verses today. James 2 is a parallel teaching to the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 7, where Jesus taught us that we are not to judge others. I believe that James is teaching us a similar message, but he also expands the subject to include how the world sees no difference in us than it does with the unsaved when we cling to our selfish, greedy attitudes by promoting those who appear more financially able than others. Think about it: the one who drives up to the church in a Porsche is probably one who might benefit our finances that Sunday, verses the one who walks up to the church in ragged clothes, dirty and perhaps, smelly. But is that what the church is all about? What does the heart of each man look like? Have they accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior? Could one of them be Jesus in the flesh, showing us how we let earthly treasures impact our belief system and therefore cause us to treat one in our midst better than the other? In the business world, a company may hire an independent ‘shopper’ to visit their business and report on the quality of service by front-line personnel. Assume that Jesus is on the sidelines, and as a ‘shopper’ He is watching our every move and interaction with the two men referenced above. What do you suppose His evaluation will look like? In today’s Scripture He led James to tell us that we would be judging the men based on their outward appearance. Praise God He looks at the inward condition of the heart when deciding whether to allow us into heaven! Oh that He would work on us that we may do the same as our Lord and Savior.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for looking at the dirt and scum of this man when I came to the cross asking for forgiveness. You accepted me just as I was and You crowned me as a prince of the King of glory. Oh that we may be willing and able to look beyond the outward appearance of those that we come into contact with and assume Your eyes of faith, love and hope for all mankind. Please Lord, open our hearts so that we might assume the compassion of Your eyes, and Your heart. Perhaps today You might walk up to us in the disguise of a poor, ragged beggar. Please mend our hearts in such a way that we might bow at Your feet in humility and treat You better than the richest man on earth, or the most prestigious person we know. All are precious in Your sight and in need of a Savior. May we accept them as Your creation and love them like You loved us. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Enjoying Evil vs Believing Truth?

Tell me who would say no to a good party? Is that not a common theme when one is planning a party? Of course it is, because we all love to have fun – both Christians and non-Christians. So we must be careful how we interpret what Paul is telling the Thessalonian church today through our above Scripture. Please examine Paul’s words closely, because we can’t afford to miss the point. I believe that today we must have more ‘evil’ going on than anytime in past history. Stick with me as we consider God’s Word for the hour!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-08-22
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

OBSERVATION: Tell me who would say no to a good party? Is that not a common theme when one is planning a party? Of course it is, because we all love to have fun – both Christians and non-Christians. So we must be careful how we interpret what Paul is telling the Thessalonian church today through our above Scripture. Please examine Paul’s words closely, because we can’t afford to miss the point. I believe that today we must have more ‘evil’ going on than anytime in past history. Stick with me as we consider God’s Word for the hour!

APPLICATION: I could bore you with examples of what I consider ‘evil’, but I believe the best place for you to see first hand what Paul might be referencing, is to Sit and listen to the evening news. Like me, I’m sure that you will stop and wonder ‘what could possibly be next’, for it is sad to hear of the evil occurring in each reader’s country that you would never have thought possible. Now, let’s hone in closer to what Paul was dealing with, for your see, he wrote this letter to the church. Yes, God’s people – those who are called by His name. I am convinced that God wanted this included in His Word for the church of today, because He was sure that this same type of behavior would still be prevalent in your church and mine. I know you might be shocked, but please recognize that everyone that walks through our church doors are not Truth followers. Therefore, their minds are not fixed on Jesus and their hearts are not filled with the Word of God. However, I believe that instead of pointing fingers, it would be best that we devote our time to recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses, and to acknowledge if we might be considered by God as loving His Word, accepting His Word, and obedient to His Word. If we are unable to affirm a definite ‘yes’ to each of these things, then I would dare say that we are probably easily swayed by the things of this world, and therefore respond to challenges based on what we have learned from the world. Paul referred to these folk as: being fooled into the way of destruction (the way of Hell); easily deceived; believe lies and will be condemned, because they are ignoring the Truth/the Word/the Bible. It is easy to see dear friends, that God gave us His Book of Instruction to be our guide through life. It teaches us the wonderful laws of life that He has set out just for us, so that we might be like Him and show Him off to a lost world. If we ignore that Book, then we are saying ‘yes’ to Satan and following his evil practices. Also, without the Truth embedded deep into our souls, we will listen to, and be swayed by, any false teachers that find their way into our churches. And friends, this is where church struggles really take root. Let’s do our part child of God! If you know Jesus Christ as Lord, then follow Him, obey His Word, and practice the Truth, as taught to us through the Scriptures. This will allow Jesus to shine through us, and keep evil practices out.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we could find lots of excuses why we sin, why we are disobedient, why we don’t prioritize Your Word in our lives, and why we do like everyone else around us in following the evil one. But You know us better than we know ourselves. You gave us the same number of hours as everyone else, so we allocate those hours for the desires of our heart. Dear Lord, please teach us, Your children who are called by Your name, to prioritize our time with You, so that our hearts might become like Your heart, so that our lives might look more like Your life demonstrated in so many ways while here on earth. Please draw us close to You, Lord. We want to see You, and we want our lives to be so filled with You that we will immediately identify false teachers, and those who try to win us over to the world. May we live to be more like You in every aspect of our lives, and may there be no other priority like the one we establish, with Your help, to live holy and righteous lives that look just like You, and that prepares us to fight off the evil one when he comes knocking. People need You, Lord, so may they not be distracted by anything in our lives that may create doubt, fear or unbelief in their minds. Oh that Your power, Your love and Your peace be at work in our hearts and in our minds every minute of every day! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

How To Deal With Enemies of God

Earlier in this chapter we read about how Paul and Barnabas were send out under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Being divinely inspired and empowered, I believe they were keenly aware of any that were opposed to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, as evident with their intolerance with Elymas. There is no doubt that the church today faces some who are just like Elymas. The big questions is whether we should seek to save them, or seek to silence them. Let’s pursue this.

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   Acts 13:9-12 (ERV)

TEXT:   But Saul (also known as Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, looked hard at Elymas 10 and said, “You son of the devil, full of lies and all kinds of evil tricks! You are an enemy of everything that is right. Will you never stop trying to change the Lord’s truths into lies? 11 Now the Lord will touch you and you will be blind. For a time you will not be able to see anything—not even the light from the sun.” Then everything became dark for Elymas. He walked around lost. He was trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the governor saw this, he believed. He was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

OBSERVATION:   Earlier in this chapter we read about how Paul and Barnabas were send out under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Being divinely inspired and empowered, I believe they were keenly aware of any that were opposed to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, as evident with their intolerance with Elymas. There is no doubt that the church today faces some who are just like Elymas. The big questions is whether we should seek to save them, or seek to silence them. Let’s pursue this.

APPLICATION:   I believe that most churches today are faced with enemies of God that sneak in to the church to kill, steal or destroy the child of God or His church as a whole. Think about this, how often have you heard about church members already serving as  Elders, Deacons, Teachers, Church workers and/or faithful members being convicted of their sin and then finally surrendering their lives totally to the Lord Jesus Christ at a late stage in their lives? So friends, what kind of decisions do you suppose they made while sitting on committees during their years of pretense, or what type of Bible truths do you suppose they delivered as they taught Sunday School? So just for a moment today, stop and put yourself in the shoes of Paul and/or Silas: for now you might be faced with the challenge of what may have tricked your own church leader into thinking they were saved while they served your church. Handled like many church leaders may tend to do, and you may see a church split over the disciplinary action taken. However, when this is handled in God’s way, like Paul did, churches could stand to be effective in reaching others, as in the case of the governor mentioned in verse 12. I believe there are two things at work here, and the results would be impacted based on which one is used. If Paul had barreled into the church with every intent to correct the wrongs in his way, he probably would have had Elymas persecuted – after all that was Paul’s (Saul’s) background experience. However, Paul was Spirit led and directed, and He wanted to handle this situation in total obedience to God. Like Paul, I am convinced that when we depend on God’s wisdom, leadership and direction, God will work His all powerful hand in the scenario we are facing, and as we act in obedience to Him, His perfect will would result in bringing glory to God. May we learn from the best, and be obedient to His instructions in our everyday cases, even ones like Elymas.

PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, I acknowledge again today that You are Lord over everything, especially over Your church, and over the ones who have surrendered and committed their lives to You. Please help us to be sensitive to the evil affecting our churches, and please give us Spirit-led leaders willing to deal with the Elymas’ of our day, but leaders who will first wait first for your Spirit to lead in ways that will ultimately please You and draw others to You. Lord, we want to see Your church flourish, even when there is trouble knocking at our doors more often than we wish. Your church is for Your glory, oh Lord, but it will only survive and flourish with You as our head. Bless us our Lord, for Your sake. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

 

Our Heart’s Content Exudes from our Mouth

Post Date:

Monday, 2017-02-06
SCRIPTURE

From:

Matthew 12:34-35 (NLT)

Text:

34 … How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
OBSERVATION:
In the context of these verses, some folk were referred to as a ‘brood of snakes’ or ‘vipers’ because there was so much evil in them. And because there was evil in them, they often spoke evil words, especially about the things of God. Knowing that folk would often reflect on this and wonder how would God know about what they speak, Jesus assured His hearers, and those of us that would follow, that we had best be careful what our hearts are filled with, as it will infest the words that we speak and therefore make us accountable before God for every evil word spoken. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? So what then shall we do?
APPLICATION:
It is often said that our eyes are the mirrors into our souls, because folk can determine the honesty of what we say and the sincerity from which we say it. Now, Jesus said that there’s another way that He determines the content of our heart, and it also becomes very apparent to those we make contact with. We could never find something uplifting, or encouraging, or Godly to say when our minds are filled with the filth of this world and the evil of its ruler. It just doesn’t work that way. The evil one is out to kill, steal and destroy those who find joy in the Lord. When we make contact with someone who has nothing encouraging, loving, uplifting or Godly to say, then we had best protect ourselves with the full armor of God, because we are facing the evil one, or one of his cohorts. The Bible tells us that we are to flee from the presence of evil, and that’s because God wants to protect His children from the contamination of Satan himself. Why is that? It’s really pretty simple, for if you fill yourself with the evil attitude and character of an agent of Satan, your mouth will begin transmitting words that hurt, destroy, breakdown, discourage and humiliate – and the love of God will no longer prevail through the words you speak or the actions that you portray. Friends, these things have a very serious impact on the good that God is endeavoring to accomplish in and through us, and that’s why I believe He told us to therefore be prepared to account for every evil thing that comes from our mouth. I want to build up, and never tear down, so I must protect myself from all that might hinder me in my goal, or that would aid the very thing that I want to steer away from. Will you join me in asking God to renew within us a fresh desire to be filled with His love, His goodness and His words, so that the unsaved might hear, know and believe? Oh that we might return to our mission and fight off every inkling of evil.
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, our hearts and our minds are filled with whatever we bring into them. May we who are called by Your name, be so indulged in Your Word that we will have a strong desire to fill our hearts and minds with even more words from our Master each and every day. Lord teach us to meditate on Your Word and to communicate with You often, so that we might be filled with Your goodness and be obedient to Your commands. We want others to know You personally, and we have a strong desire that You use us in Your work here on earth. As we are filled, so may we share with those looking to fill their cup. May the lost come into contact with believers who are filled with the Spirit of God and not a mixed bag of goods that confuse them. Lord, may we be usable vessels for Your great work here on earth, is my humble plea, all for Your glory and praise, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

The Originators of Evil and Good

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Living Bible – James 1:13-17): 13 And remember, when someone wants to do wrong it is never God who is tempting him, for God never wants to do wrong and never tempts anyone else to do it. 14 Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes. 15 These evil thoughts lead to evil actions and afterwards to the death penalty from God. 16 So don’t be misled, dear brothers. 17 But whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God, the Creator of all light, and he shines forever without change or shadow.

 THOUGHTS: Less Christians believe that all things that happen in their lives after conversion derives from God, James found it important to clarify this. It served as a great reminder to me, so I wanted to share this with my blog audience today also. Just in case we ever feel like God might be tempting us to prove our faith in Him, or tempting us for whatever reason, James clarified this in verses 13 and 14. Friends, it is unfortunate, but the reason why it is so important to stay closely attuned to God through Bible Study, Prayer, Worship and Fellowship with like believers, is because as long as we are here on this earth, Satan will be a constant pain in our side. Always tempting, prodding and making every attempt to have us turn aside from, what he believes to be, a stupid decision to follow Jesus. Of course, as soon as we come to our senses we know that verse 17 is a perfect sermon for us, because while the verse is telling us where everything good and perfect comes from, we can naturally reason that the opposite must come from Satan. So I believe that our lesson in this scripture today is to remind us that when we feel temptation; when we feel evil overtaking us and when we feel like nothing good is happening to us, we must quickly come to our senses and ask God to forgive us for the evil that we have allowed to enter our lives. Ask Him to build a great hedge of protection around us. Send a true messenger of His to encourage us, and to make His presence very obvious to us, Friends, when we find ourselves slipping away from God, I believe you will always find that it is not God who is letting go of our hand, but rather us who wants to try and do things our way. It is then that we become very vulnerable to Satan. Always remember: anything good, loving and worthwhile comes from God. Anything else is caused by our weakened spiritual condition that has allowed Satan access into our lives. We can protect our righteous lives by staying closely attached and attuned to the only Righteous One, Jesus Christ. Try realigning yourself with the King of Glory today friend, and let God be God in your life!

 PRAYER: Until we are reminded of all that You have done for us, and continue to do for us dear Lord, we tend to forget and even minimize Your love for us. We know that we should stay in the Word, and we know that we should revere our relationship with You oh God, but it is so unfortunate that often it will take a disaster or major event in our lives to realign our relationship with You. Please forgive us for being so weakened to sin, and so weak in our relationship with You that we would allow Satan access to our lives so easily. We are the temple of the Lord, and God cannot reign where Satan resides. Please help us to stay closely aligned to You dear God, through saturation of Your Word, through frequent prayer and through an unwavering commitment and determination to give You full reign over us. Please forgive us Lord, and be our constant Lord, Master and Ruler over all things in our lives. For I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!