Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When We Are Confused

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. James 3:16-17 (KJV)

James says some piercing things here. He mentions envying and strife Envy is a discontented feeling in the selfish heart, in view of the superiority of another, nearly tantamount to jealousy. (1)

Strife is quarreling or contention among people.

Confusion: a lack of understanding or unsureness, doubt, ignorance. (2)     
Wisdom: an attribute of God, wisdom is intimately related to the divine knowledge, manifesting itself in the selection of the proper ends with the proper means for their accomplishment. (3)

Pure: virtuous or godly.

Peaceable: possessing a restored relationship with God. (3)

Gentle: kindly, humble.

As children of God, we should seek God’s wisdom and peace even when we face those who cause strife for us. Some of those who are guilty of hurting us act in ways that distress us because they are under the influence of the enemy, of things that control their minds and their bodies.

In spite of how those hurting us, we need to learn to seek His mercy for them and for us and display the good fruit He has implanted into our hearts. This may sound difficult, however, Jesus stands by our side when our detractors attempt to cause us to lower our defenses.
1. New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, © 1988 page 364
2. google search 8.28.2018
3. Unger’s page 1369

4. Ibid.

Monday, September 24, 2018

God’s Will

nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26:39 (ESV)

“I prayed for God to heal him. Why didn’t He answer my prayers?”
“Why did God have to take her from her family?” I asked these questions when He took someone in my extended family.

The first time came after my uncle passed from this earth. I was angry that God had not done as I asked. Later, a co-worker and friend said something to me about God’s will. I found myself opening my heart to her. “I won’t pray for His will ever again. He let my uncle die.” Her response has stayed with me these four decades.  “God’s will gets done no matter what we want. He is sovereign.”

The second time I felt discouraged was when God took my husband’s niece. She was older than we were. She had granddaughters who needed her guidance. I had prayed for her as I sat in the hospital ICU room. I drove her daughter down to the hospital in Indianapolis twice- once when she was life-lined there. And again, in the wee hours of the next morning. I held onto hope when the doctors said there was none.

A few weeks after her service, my husband and I stopped at a neighborhood convenience store. He went in to get something. As I sat in the car, a young man from our church exited the store. He came over to my car and spoke to me. He asked how I was doing. I told him what had happened and that I was emotionally down and why I felt that way. His response also has stayed with me since then. “God may have done what was best for her.”

I learned a lot about God’s will from these conversations. The biggest lesson is that when we pray for God’s will, we can’t tell Him what that is. We can only request that our wish is heard.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...