In His Word 12-17-2012

Are you walking the walk that God has given you with joy and exultation? Or are you walking it wishing you had done something else with your life?
Are you content where you are right now; or are you wishing you were keeping up with the Jones'?

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8

God's word tells us and His Spirit convicts us of the desire to be like those in the world, but what about wanting a better life in Christ? Is it wrong to wish that we were as close to God as Pastor Joel? Or to be used as much as Kay Arthur? Not at all, these would be good desires; but we should not just wish, but we should take steps to do something about it.
God gives us the desires of our hearts; some say He puts them there and others say He grants the desires to bring about what He sees there. Either way it is my desire to honor Him in all that I do and if I pray to Him and ask for this He will bring it to pass. In James it says we do not get what we want because we do not ask with the correct motives. So we can ask ourselves this morning what are our motives?
Is it all about us, or is it according to His will? Is our heart right with God or man?

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continue in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:21-27

So maybe we should ask ourselves today are we seeking after our own selfish desires, or the desires of God's heart?

When we ask for God to supply all our needs do we complain because he did not give us a brand new shiny first owner sports car? Or do we use what He has given us and use it for His glory?
When we pray we must ask believing that He will do what we request because if we do the back and forth thing; “God help me to get a job but not at Mc Dudes or Jack n' Jill's but at the fancy job that pays a lot.. but wait I need a job so maybe its okay to work at Mc Dudes, but still I would rather work at Big Name place and make a ton of money. But Lord I need a job so maybe....” Do you see the wave thinking in that prayer?

James tells us that we should pray; “not my will but yours be done” and give God the key to answering our prayers. I have to admit I have been guilty of praying God into a box too. I have prayed for answers that we so specific that I could not doubt or become double-minded about the answer. Which is okay for 'such a time as this' but for God to move in our prayers we need to pray specifically for His will not ours to be done then to trust that He will take care of it.
Just remember that when we pray like this we will need to have patience to let it be done and not pull it back to change our prayers request; God does not need to hear our 'go backs' or 'returned gift' style of prayers. He desires to hear our heart felt truthful prayers, no sheltering Him from how we really feel; after all He can see our heart, our motive and our truthful desires.

If you are wise and understand God's ways prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if ou are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart don't cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.  James 3:13-16

So you see we once again come to the reality of “it's not about me” and that it's “all about Him”, His desires in our hearts, His direction for our lives. When you think of it all we want will be so much better if we ask Him to bless our ideas and allow Him to take them and run with them!
After all we may plan our walk but it is God who orders our steps.

This week as we come in closer to Christmas celebrations, lets take some time and look at our motives. What are the motives in gift giving, or receiving for that matter? Are you buying your loved one that expensive gift to please their ego, or because they can use it? Did you ask for that new dress to be flashy or because you would like a change? Will it be too flashy for church?

One person  I knew a lot of years ago said they had certain dresses that were acceptable for church and others that they wore when they went out, or something other than church. I had to stop and think for a moment, examine my own heart and my own dresses. I realized that my dresses all would be okay for church as that was pretty much where I went in them. Still as I dressed for church that following Sunday I found myself wondering if I was “presentable” to God in my daily clothing of the heart as well as my clothes on the outside. At that point I think is when I began looking at the inside of my heart each week instead of what is on the outside. After all I am going to church to fellowship with believers, and as believers we should be paying more attention to the inner man not the outer man, just like Jesus.

Are we going to Church for our motives, or for God's motives? Do we change our heart's clothes for Sundays?

Is it to please ourselves because we have that certain friend we can't wait to talk with and enjoy their company. Or is it because God has a Word to give us and we can't wait to spend extra special time with Him in the presence of our brothers and sisters?
Stop and think about it; Selah.

Dear heavenly Father we examine our hearts today and ask You to show us what is lacking. Help us to speak to you in fullness of truth in our prayers and not in waves of decision. Help us to tell you what we want, what we truly desire and not try to hide from you our motives; after all You know our hearts better than we do. Thank you again Lord for your direction and Guidance. In Jesus' name, amen.

Suggested reading: James 1:1-27, James 2:1-28, James 3:1-18 and James 4:1-17 and if you have the time go ahead and finish James with James 5:1-20.