Favourites. Favouritism. One’s good and a normal part of life. The other’s dangerous and ungodly. Why is that? James tells us why and ultimately points to the answer which (not surprisingly) is found in our ‘glorious Lord Jesus Christ’.
The renovations of our church hall continue to progress smoothly. The new kitchen and (indoor) toilets, new entrance and ramp should all be ready for use by the end of September. However not all will be done then! At a congregational meeting held today it was agreed that we should proceed with the ‘Stage 2’ of the renovations – the installation of a lower (false) ceiling in the hall. This is going to add some time to the project’s length, but will be a wonderful addition in the long run. We’ll keep you posted on when all is done!
Numbers 14 is a sad tale of the consequences of the unbelief of the people of God in the desert. Their unbelief was contrary to what they had experienced of the Lord’s goodness and mercy, it led to death and defeat and also caused hardness of heart amongst the people. These consequences of unbelief still remain – especially when churches and denominations ignore the truths of God’s Word and determine to go their own way. Only one solution to this is recommended and that is to never let a minute pass when we are not trusting the Lord.
Ears. Hands. Legs. feet. Mouths. They’re all in this practical and helpful part of the first chapter of James. These verses remind us that hearing must be followed by doing, otherwise we have not heard well and we are fooling no-one but ourselves if we do not ‘do’ what we hear.
Numbers 13 and 14 concern the pivotal moment when the twelve spies brought back their report of the land of Canaan. All saw that the land was flowing with ‘milk and honey’ and was exactly as God had told them would be. However, in unbelief, ten of the spies reported that the giants in the land were too big for them to fight, while only Joshua and Caleb urged them all to trust in God’s promises and go in and take the land. It is not easy to live by faith and not by sight, but God calls us to do just that and not take our eyes of His presence or His promises.
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing. The great people of earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer, nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.” (S.D. Gordon)
Join us at our next “Quarterly Prayer Gathering” 2pm-4:30/5:00pm, Saturday August 25th in the Church Vestry
Trials. Temptations. Is there a difference? Are the two connected? James writes of both of these in this important text. What do we learn from the presence of trials? What attitude is called for? What do we learn from the temptations we face? Where do they come from? What do we need to do in response to all this? Listen on…
Numbers 11 and 12 is mainly concerned with the ‘attitude of ingratitude’ shown by the people of Israel on their journey through the desert. The people had a mind to complain about the food they had and didn’t have, some blessings others had and the leader (Moses) they all had. Such grumbling was evidence of their lack of trust in the Lord and His gracious gifts. A spirit of grumbling and complaint can still afflict the people of God today, whenever our eyes are off the Lord and His undeserved blessings.
Trials have a habit of making us think soberly about life and help us to see that we lack wisdom. God has a habit of generously giving wisdom to those who ask Him, but James reminds us that faith will be an essential pre-requisite. Wisdom will also be needed to live in this world where the rich seem to have status over the poor. James has something to say about that too.
According to Numbers 9 and 10, the people of Israel made their way ‘on foot through the desert’ led by a pillar of cloud and fire, but also by His Word and by the advice of a friend. Though God led His people through supernatural means, He continues to use ordinary means – especially the reading and hearing of His Word – to lead and guide His people today. These are big questions, but the bigger question is, once we know which way God is leading us, will we be willing to do what He wants?