Saturday, July 18, 2015, 7:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus brought to mind the song “Give Me Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 1:19-25 (NASB). Quick and Slow (vv. 19-20) This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Anger is an emotion given to us by God, along with many other emotions, the purpose of which is to motivate us to some kind of action. In Ephesians 4 it speaks of being angry and sinning not, so not all anger is sinful, though some may be. Anger may be the immediate response to certain emotional triggers existing within some people because of an underlying sin issue within them which has been left unresolved, such as unforgiveness and bitterness. In such a case, the anger is rooted in sin. Indignation is “anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean” (M-W). We can feel anger and not sin, or we can feel anger and sin in our anger if we are angry because we are being selfish, and if we are being annoyed by others because they are not doing what we would like them to do, or if we are filled with resentment, hatred or contempt for certain individuals or particular classes of people. In that case we might be predisposed to getting angry with certain people and blowing up at them just because of sinful thoughts and attitudes in our own hearts against them. God gets angry. Jesus got angry. Yet, God does not sin. We should feel anger and should grieve over the same things that anger and that grieve God. God gets angry over continued willful sin and rebellion, and stubborn and unrepentant hearts coming from those who know the truth, but who are continually ignoring God’s voice, just so that they can continue to do what they know is evil. We should get angry over all the lies, deceptions, and twisting and manipulation of truth which are so prevalent in today’s modern church movement. It should upset us that the church has been turned into a marketplace for buying and selling, just like with any other man-made business, and that it is being marketed just like any other business. It should disturb us greatly that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been compromised in order to appease and to please this sinful world, and that there are so many false shepherds of the people who are leading the church astray (see Ez. 34). And, we should pray and should ask God what he wants us to do about all of this. We can at least pray. Anger can express itself in many different ways, some of which are healthful, and some of which are destructive. The anger of man would appear to be human anger which can result in rage, hostility, meanness, abusive behavior, harsh words, and violence, etc., which is why we need to be self-controlled and not quick-tempered. Some people get angry with others because they didn’t really listen to what other people said, but they were too quick to make a judgment and to speak their own minds. So, we need to be good listeners, and not be quick to speak, especially we should not be in the habit of cutting people off mid-sentence and assuming what they are going to say when we really don’t know what they are going to say. We need to listen more and speak less, and we need to exercise self-control and pray and ask God to show us what is going on in our own hearts, and then we need to hear what God tells us needs to be corrected, and then do what he says to do. Put Off and Put On (v. 21) Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us on a cross not just so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. He died so we could die with him to sin, and so we could be resurrected with him to new life in Christ, free from the control of sin, and free to be under the control of righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us. He died in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to the Spirit. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we put off our old sinful lives, we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and we put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” As well, God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in willful sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires, and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we wait for his return (See: Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25). Hearers and Doers (vv. 22-25) But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. Here in America we have been so richly blessed with such free and abundant access to God’s Holy Word. Bibles are sold just about anywhere books are sold. Many of us have more than one Bible in our homes, and in more than one translation, as well as we have internet access, and the availability of so many biblical resources online, though we must be very discerning about those. We have the freedom to worship God/Jesus openly (in public), for the most part, and we have the freedom, as well, to share our beliefs and what God is teaching us from his word each day on multiple websites and blogs, etc. On the TV, radio and internet we can access Bible teaching and spiritual songs around the clock, though we must also be very discerning there, too, because not everything that calls itself biblical or spiritual is really of God. The point is, though, that because we have the Word of God so available to us, we, of all people, should be students of the Word of God, and doers of his Word. Yet, that does not seem to be the norm here in America (the USA). Although we should know the Word of God, and many people here have such vast knowledge of what the Word teaches, so many people who claim to be followers of Christ here in America are hearers but not doers of the Word. Why is that? I believe, for one, it is because we are such a wealthy nation with so many privileges that, as a people, we take for granted what we have, or else many have an entitlement mindset which believes everything is owed to them. Having too much can be a detriment to spiritual growth, and can breed discontent and a continual lust for more, but more of what this world has to offer, not more of Jesus. As well, I believe that television, the internet, movies and such easy and private access to the internet via smart phones and tablets (IPads, for instance) in the vast majority of American homes has helped lead to the spiritual downfall of the church and the family, and to a desire for the things of the world and for sinful pleasure. The dilution of the gospel and the turning the church into a marketplace where sinners are entertained and made to feel good about themselves, and where they are told that God requires nothing of them in the way of surrender, obedience or repentance, has led many professing Christians to go the way of the world and to ignore the teachings of scripture. As well, with so many professing ministers of the gospel teaching a false gospel, a twisted gospel, and a gospel of human origin, which has evolved into the inclusion of foreign gods and opposing beliefs, so many who profess the name of Christ are being led astray to other gods and a compromise of the gospel and of their faith which they profess. So, they are ignoring the truths of God’s words because they are being taught they don’t have to obey our Lord’s teachings, and they are running after what is false, because it makes them feel better about themselves, and it allows them to continue in their sin. Yet, we need to not just listen to the Word and think we don’t have to do what it says, as though it is somehow optional. We need to remember what it says, and we need to do it. So many, many people are being led astray from the truth of the gospel to lies and deceptions and manipulations of truth, and so many are following these liars and deceivers because what they are telling the people is pleasant to their ears. So much of what these liars are teaching is that people don’t have to repent of sin, and we don’t have to obey God’s word, and that sounds good to those especially who are trapped in sin, because now they believe they can hold on to their sin and that God is still pleased with them. 2 Jn. 1:9: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” We need to be in the Word of God, listening to what God says to our hearts, and then we need to do what his word says and not just walk away and forget what he showed us about ourselves. Do you remember the last time God spoke with you about something in your life which needed to change? What did you do about it? Did you walk away and forget about it? Or, did you remember, and did you do what he told you? We need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, but we need to be hearers of the True Word, and not of man-made teaching disguised as God’s Word, too. Give Me Jesus Oh, What Gladness! An Original Work / December 2, 2013 Give me Jesus. He’s my Savior. I’ll walk with Him in His favor. I’ll abide in His love always; Follow His ways to the end. Jesus is the Son of God. He died upon a cruel cross. He’s forgiven all my failures By His mercy and His love. Give me Jesus – His compassion, And His mercy; loving kindness. Let Him teach me how to love Him, And to please Him. He’s my friend. Jesus died for all our sin So we could have eternal life. He will free you from your bondage If you trust Him with your life. Give me Jesus. Let me trust Him. May I listen to His teachings. May I follow where He leads me In His service. He’s my Lord. Jesus Christ will come again To take His bride to be with Him. Oh, what gladness; free from sadness When I meet Him in the air.