Posts Tagged ‘Righteousness


More Than A Sacrifice

When it comes to life, we need to not only focus on our vertical relationship with God, but also on our horizontal relationships with others. We can’t have one without the other. Solomon said that God is more concerned with righteousness (vertical) and justice (horizontal) than He is with what we give to His Kingdom through sacrifice. This is what Solomon wrote:

To do what is right and just
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. – ​Proverbs 21:3 (NIV)

The prophet Hosea said something similar:

…I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6 (NIV)

We can get so wrapped up in outward shows of religion (sacrifices and offerings) that we forget to let God transform us from the inside out. Relationships are more important than legalism. Let Jesus transform your heart before you try to impress Him with your tithes and offerings. God isn’t saying, “Don’t give.” He’s saying, “Let everything you do come from a transformed heart.”

Prayers And Confession

Good Thursday morning to you! We need to pray faith-filled prayers. Too often we doubt the Lord when it comes to our prayers. James says:

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:15-16 (NIV)

We also need to confess our sins to one another in order to hold each other accountable. I think that we’re afraid of confession because we’re afraid of judgment and condemnation. If we’ll love each other as we love ourselves, we won’t judge each other. Instead, we will encourage each other and help each other overcome sins and struggles in order to live lives of righteousness. Our prayers will be more effective and we’ll see God’s power unleashed in our lives to an even greater degree.

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.

Slow To Anger

We live in angry times. How many times do we succumb to road rage when someone cuts us off and we fly off the handle? Have you checked your Facebook feed lately? There’s a lot of anger out there! James wrote:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. – James 1:19-20 (NIV)

There are three keys that help unlock a righteous life, according to James. First, be quick to listen. We don’t listen to each other anymore. We hear what people say, but too often, we are composing arguments in our heads. Second, we need to be slow to speak. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Listen before you speak. Finally, we need to control our anger. There ARE things to get angry about, but flying off the handle and losing our tempers are not what God has in mind. Take a deep breath and count to ten before you lose it today. You’ll be one step closer to the kind of life God desires for you.

Why Start Tomorrow?

It’s almost New Year’s Eve.

Soon millions of people will make some kind of resolution.

They will resolve to do all kinds of things.

Lose weight by eating better or exercising more.

Stop smoking.

Stop drinking.

Stop (insert bad habit here).

Start reading their Bibles more.

Start going to church more.

Start (insert what is perceived to be a good habit here).

The question I have today is, “Why start tomorrow?”

Two verses come to mind with regard to resolutions and both are from the book of James, chapter 4.

…you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. – James 4:14a (NIV)

Anyone…who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – James 4:17 (NIV)

In the first verse, we see that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.   You may be reading this in 2012 and hope to start/stop something in 2013, but you don’t even know for certain that you will wake up to see 2013!  So don’t start that good habit tomorrow or stop that bad habit tomorrow!  Do it today!

In the second verse, we see that if we are not doing something that we should be doing, we are as guilty as if we are doing something we know we shouldn’t be doing.  In other words, if we know we should be taking care of the poor or reading our Bibles or praying more or doing some other good thing but aren’t doing it, we are sinning.  So stop sinning and start doing the good you ought to do!

Don’t wait for the calendar to flip in order to resolve to start/stop something.  Give up the bad habit today.  Start that good habit today.  Just because the date changes doesn’t mean that you’ll be any more likely to start/stop that habit.  Go ahead and get a head start on that New Year’s resolution.  Why start tomorrow when you can start today?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to have holy habits in the coming year. I want to start today and I ask that You would give me the resolve to do what is right and to avoid what is wrong. Thank You for giving me another year of life. Help me to live this life the way that You would have me live. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Make A Choice. Take A Stand.

We all have to make a choice and we all have to take a stand.  At the end of the book of Joshua, we read the final part of his farewell address to the Israelites.  In verses 14-15, we read a well-known passage of Scripture:

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV)

Joshua gave the people a choice – serve the Lord or worship idols.  He did not wait for their answer as he told the people where his family stood: we will serve the Lord.  It didn’t matter what everyone else was going to do.  Joshua’s household would stand firm and serve the Lord.
We all have to make a choice and take a stand.  What will you do?  As the world around us seems to be moving further and further away from faithfulness, righteousness and holiness, what will you choose to do?  Will you choose to go with the crowd or will you choose to follow Jesus?
Jesus said that we have a choice to make:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

Make up your mind today.  Make your choice.  Take your stand.  But be wise with regard to the road you choose.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
PRAYER: Lord, I ask today that You would grant me grace to lead my household well. I want me and my house to serve You. Help me when I fail. Pick me up when I fall. Father, keep me on the narrow path and protect my family. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Living And Loving Well

1 John 3:7-10 (NIV)
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
According to John, here are two identifying marks of a child of God:
  1. Righteous living
  2. Love for others
If we are filled with God’s Spirit, we will live a life that is noticeably different than the world around us.  We know that we are not perfect and that we do sin.  But instead of living lives that are characterized by sinfulness and selfishness, the life of a Christian is lived for God and not for the self.  We talk differently.  We act differently.  We think differently.  Why?  Because we are the children of the King.  Our lives reflect – either poorly or well – on our Father.  Are you living for Jesus or are you living for sin?
The same thing goes for how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ.  The church should be known as a house of love.  Our lives should be filled with love, compassion, grace and forgiveness for our brothers and sisters.  Instead of allowing differences and grievances to separate us, we need to allow the grace of God to unite us.  That means forgiving each other and loving each other unconditionally.  Let’s face it.  We are all human and sinful.  Sometimes our differences divide us and we cannot work things out.  That’s why we need grace to bridge the gap between us.  The Apostle Paul had a falling out with Barnabas because of a young man named Mark (the Gospel writer) in Acts 15.  They had to separate for a while and then they were able to reunite and Paul had some very positive things to say about Mark (2 Timothy 4:11).
Think about these two things today.  How are you living?  Are you living a life of righteousness for Jesus?  How are you loving?  Are you loving your brothers and sisters in Christ?  Are you forgiving them and working out your differences?  Or are you holding grudges and bitterness in your heart?  Be a child of God today and live and love well.
PRAYER: Father, I struggle with living and loving well.  Help me to live a life of righteousness and love today.  Thank You for filling me with Your Spirit and loving me so that I can love others.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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