28
Apr
17

Pure Religion

James says that if we can’t keep a tight rein on our tongues, our religion is worthless. He then describes the kind of religion that pleases our Heavenly Father. James wrote:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 (NIV)

More than talking a good game, followers of Jesus need to put feet to our faith. We need to care about the most vulnerable people in our world. We need to take care of those on the fringes.  We need to love the people who cannot offer us anything in return. We’ll find it much easier to love people who can give us something. What is hard is to love people who have nothing to give.
We also need to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. The world is a dirty place full of sin and filth. We can do one of two things. First, we can avoid the world all together and set up communes in order to keep ourselves pure. That works to a degree, but it doesn’t change anyone’s lives or destinies. The other option is to keep ourselves grounded in God’s Word as protection against pollution. We’ll never change the world if we’re not working in the world to shine God’s light and love. Don’t isolate yourself from the world. Instead, be a light and show God’s love to someone today.
27
Apr
17

The Evidence Of A Changed Heart

We might think we’re pretty spiritual and religious by the religious things we do. We might feel pretty good about ourselves because we go to church regularly or put a $20.00 bill in the offering plate. Those might be good things to do, but they’re outward shows of religion that might not reflect an inner change of heart. James wrote:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. – James 1:26 (NIV)

Jesus said that what we say comes right out of our hearts. God is more concerned about the state of your heart than He is with your “religious” activities. You can put on a good show, but the real proof of a changed heart is so much more basic. You can go to church with a begrudging attitude, but people will think you’re a good person. You can give an offering out of a clenched fist and people might think you’re generous. But your tongue will show the real you. Are you being transformed by the Holy Spirit? Are you being changed by God’s grace? Your tongue is the evidence of God’s work in your heart.
26
Apr
17

I Have To Earn My Salvation

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  This is the second message in our series, “Fake News & Alternative Facts.”

26
Apr
17

Obedience & Blessings

Do you look around at your life and wonder, “Why doesn’t God bless me?” We sometimes wonder if God is withholding His blessings as a way of punishing us. Maybe we are bringing it on ourselves. James says:
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:25 (NIV)
I have two thoughts regarding blessings and obedience. First, if you’re not obeying, God’s not blessing. It doesn’t mean you can hold your obedience over His head and demand blessings. That’s pride and that’s not how it works. What it does mean is that God knows what is best and when we obey Him, good things tend to happen more than bad things. Disobedience makes bad things happen.
Second, maybe we need to re-calibrate our idea of blessings. How many of us are REALLY blessed, but we just fail to realize how we have been truly blessed. God is good and He gives us many good gifts. He gives us spiritual, relational, emotional and physical blessings abundantly.  Let’s not take His blessings for granted and instead, let’s be grateful for what we have been given.
25
Apr
17

Choosing Spiritual Amnesia

Have you ever looked in a mirror in order to check your hair or the fit of your clothing, walked away and forgotten how you looked? James says that when we hear the Word of God and fail to do what it says, it’s as though we forget what we look like. This is what he wrote:

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. – James 1:23-24 (NIV)

The Word of God was not meant to just be heard or read. It was meant to be lived out each day. When the Word says to do something, we are expected to do it. When the Bible says to not do something, we are expected to not do it. Otherwise, we are guilty of choosing spiritual amnesia. We cannot claim ignorance. We’ve heard the Word. We’ve got the Bible in our homes, our churches, our hotel rooms and on our phones. It is up to us to obey it.
24
Apr
17

Do What It Says

Many people claim to love the Bible, which is the Word of God. They’ll pledge their loyalty to a certain translation or they’ll sing songs about it. They may read it faithfully or listen to it regularly. The real question for us all is, “Are we living it out each day?” James says:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22 (NIV)

When we hear or read God’s Word without any discernible life change, we deceive ourselves. We can say that we love God’s Word, but if it isn’t changing the way that we live, we’re deceiving ourselves. God’s Word is meant to be more than read. It is meant to be lived. We can fight over words like infallible and inerrant, but unless we actually do what it says, we are in trouble. Don’t worship the Scriptures, live them out. Save your worship for the Author by obeying His Word.
21
Apr
17

Get Rid Of Filth

I don’t like to get dirty. I’m not a germophobe. I just don’t like to get dirty and sweaty and stinky. Maybe you’re like me and you don’t like to get physically dirty. But what about our souls? Do we get filthy in a spiritual sense? James wrote:

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. – James 1:21 (NIV)

He said that human anger does not produce the kind of righteous life that God desires. God wants us to live righteous lives and that means getting rid of moral filthiness and wickedness. That comes by accepting God’s Word. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, transforms us and helps us live righteous lives. What moral filth have you allowed to dirty your body and your mind? Get rid of it! Do whatever it takes to get rid of the spiritual dirt that is making you filthy. Listen to God’s Spirit and God’s Word and be transformed and cleansed today.



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