Thoughts from Twitter

As I was reading Tweets this morning, I came across one by Rick Warren that said “Never follow a leader who always preaches against the sins of others but never publically confesses his own Luke 6:41-42.”  I sat back in my chair and took a deep breath.  What?  I was floored. 

I am often careful not to dwell on the sins of others.  I tend to beat myself up over my own as well as allow others to remind me of my sin.  I would often times turn to my leaders for direction and trusted their opinion, their wisdom.  I spent so much wasted time struggling with my own walk because of the judgments made by those in leadership or those I felt were godlier than I was and allowed them to assess my walk. This Tweet led me down a very different path.  How many of those people have ever confessed before me their own struggle with sin? I spent the morning in the book of James and gained some clarity about things that I have struggled with for such a long time.
Here was my journey through James this morning.

*James 1:2-3
Dear brothers and sisters,<sup value="[a]”> when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

     I memorized this verse over the years.  It serves as my reminder that even when tested I should not be discouraged because it is a time when my faith will grow if I follow Him.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

     This morning this verse was perfect.  God should be my source of wisdom.  He IS MY perfect counselor and teacher.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger  does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

     A passage I chose to memorize years ago but struggle with on a daily basis.  What I recognized this morning was that this verse too could be turned around.  It is not just talking about my own anger but the anger of others as well.  When we lash out at someone in anger, we are not being righteous.

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

Another epiphany this morning, those who can’t control their tongue are foolish and their religion is worthless.  How many times do we find ourselves crumbling under the harsh words of another?  Scripture says that those people are foolish and their religion is worthless.  Knowing this sure does make it a lot easier to stand strong under the weight of their words.

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself”  But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

I love this passage.  God’s word says we are to “love your neighbor as yourself” but if we love some and not others, we are sinning.  We are breaking the law.  Scripture says that someone who keeps all the laws except one is just as guilty of sin before God as those who have broken them all.  It means that if we choose not to show mercy to those who have wronged us or sinned, mercy will not be shown to us.

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.  People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.

I struggle with holding my tongue when I feel someone is being unfairly accused of something.  I don’t want to hurt others with my words but I struggle with the desire to defend.  I think we are to defend one another but not at the expense of cursing another or damaging their character.  An area where God is definitely working in my life.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
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God is holy.  God is holy.  God is holy.  I need this reminder a lot lately.  If someone claims to be a Christian yet attacks my character in malice, it is not from God.  Wisdom and rebuke from God is pure.  It is peace loving and gentle. It is full of mercy.  If someone claims to have a word from God yet does so in an un-Christ-like way, it is not God.

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?  You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.  And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

What causes fights?  The evil desires that live within in.  It stems from jealousy.  We want what we do not have.  We will scheme and fight in order to accomplish our agenda.  When our motives are not pure, we will not get what we desire.  Those who live in peace are those who are content in the Lord.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.  Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

I mess up daily.  As hard as I try, I fall.  What I am learning is that God knows my heart.  He knows my intentions.  As I draw closer to Him and allow His word to permeate my life, I will find it easier to flee from sin.  I will recognize it faster and run further from the world and instead toward God.

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.

This is a tough one for everybody.  We all find ourselves judging. It’s hard not to because as sinners we don’t want to think about our own sins.  It is so much easier to see it in someone else.  For me I keep this passage in mind when thin king of other people.  My job and desire is to obey God.  If I am picking apart other people then I am not being obedient and I am not pleasing God.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Simple to understand.  If we know truth and do what we want anyway, we sin.

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags.  Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.  For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

This passage brought comfort to me this morning as I pondered on the injustice my kids are experiencing.  God sees those that live their nice lifestyle, eat all they want and hold back from giving to others.  Each of those things will stand as evidence against those that chose to cheat others.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 

Pray.  Just pray and give praise.  No matter what the mood or circumstance, we should pray always.
Through our struggles, we can lose sight of our goal.  In the end, all that matters is that we live a life that honors and glorifies God.  We need to focus on our own walk, our own struggles and the truth of God’s word.  When life seems out of control, take time to sit as His feet and find comfort in the truth of His word.