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Posts Tagged ‘James 5:12’

Contradictions and Inconsistencies

June 30th, 2017

Never allow your life to contradict your values

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” Romans 7:19 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,Contradictions and Inconsistencies.”

Keep your convictions clear and your contradictions few. “To thine own self be true and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” William Shakespeare. Musically, the effect of incongruity is dissonance. Relationally, the result is discord. Spiritually, the consequence is disunity. When behavior contradicts professed belief, your integrity and reputation are diminished. From my Dad I learned, “A man is only as good as his word.” James, the brother of Jesus, made it simple and clear. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” James 5:12 NIV. James’ instruction is about far more than vocabulary. James’ words are about living with clarity, consistency, and integrity. Always do more than you promise, never less. Be true. Be real. Be consistent.

Never allow your life to contradict your values. As a young minister, I was challenged by a probing question that Jesus asked. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV. That is a glaring inconsistency to which all of us have to plead guilty on occasion. Jesus then told a story contrasting a man who built his house on solid rock and another who was content to build his house on shifting sand. Which do you think succeeded? Read Luke 6:47-49 NIV. Whatever its momentary circumstance, the safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will. Your future rests securely on that which will neither change nor fail – the Word and will of God.

Jesus told another story about two sons. One promised something to his father, but never did what he said. His action was inconsistent with his words. The other at first refused but later complied. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NIV. Which did the will of his father? Perform above your promise; God does.

Paul identified our common dilemma but also pointed us to the only One who gives us success and victory. “I do not understand what I do . . For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is [a sin nature] living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me . .  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Then, Paul shares the only answer to his victory and ours. “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Read Romans 7:15-25 NIV.

James wrote of this same spiritual/carnal contradiction, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? James 3:9-11 NIV. The inconsistency is consistent! “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Read Luke 6:43-45 NIV.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT. That is achieved only by allowing the Word of God to dwell within you. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” Colossians 3:16 NIV. If God is Sovereign – and He is – His Word is absolute and His will is final. “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 NIV. My desire and intent is to never allow my life or words to contradict the faith I profess and the Word of God I preach.

Today, I pray for you to walk before God and man with integrity and authenticity.

 

Christian Communications 2017

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Promise Keepers

April 5th, 2013

“Fully convinced that what [God] promised He was also able to do.” Romans 4:21 NKJV.

A person of character will do as they say, whatever effort or sacrifice is required.

My thoughts and comments today are about “promise keepers.”

Advertisers and marketers make promises manufacturers don’t fulfill. Advertising notoriously leaves people skeptical. The hype is better than the reality. That should not be true of us. People make promises too – husbands and wives, parents and kids, bosses and employees, citizens and governments, businesses and customers – but promises are more easily made than kept. Expect more of yourself. If there is a problem about keeping promises, intention is not usually the cause. Intentions usually exceed abilities. Sometimes there are reasons a promise is not kept, sometimes excuses.

Broken promises devalue your words; each time a promise is broken, words mean less to more people. My Dad measured a man by his word. “A man is only as good as His word,” he believed. A person of character will do exactly as they say, whatever the effort or sacrifice required. The Bible makes it simple, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” James 5:12 NKJV. Be clear with your words; be true to your word. Better to promise less and deliver more. When a promise is kept, be gracious. When unable to honor your word, be honest and explain.

If that is true of promises made to other people, how much more should a person be sincere and diligent about their promises to God? “So when you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through . . Keep all the promises you make to Him. It is better to say nothing than to promise something that you don’t follow through on. In such cases, your mouth is making you sin.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 NLT.

Consider how God guards and values His words. “So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NIV. Abraham is an interesting study. Read Romans 4:17-22 NKJV. God made a promise that Abraham would be, “a father of nations with descendants as the stars of the Heavens and sands of the sea.” But then time passed. What was first unlikely was soon impossible by natural means. By every evidence, the time had passed; the promise failed. But God does not fail, neither do His words. Solomon declared, “There has not failed one word of all His good promise.” 1 Kings 8:56 NKJV.

Abraham weighed the facts – his and Sarah’s age and incapacity – but believed the truth. His assurance was in God’s ability, not his own. “Abraham . . in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did – who contrary to hope, in hope believed . . He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what [God] had promised He was also able to perform.” Read Hebrews 11:8-12/17-19 NIV. Fully convinced. What would that look like for you?

Trust must be placed upon the incomparable ability and inviolable integrity of the One who promises, even more than in the promise itself. That is a notable distinction. And the ultimate sum of it all is this: “This is what He promised us – even eternal life.” 1 John 2:25. God is a Promise Keeper!

My prayer for you today is: hold fast the promises He speaks within your heart.

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Careful What You Say!

September 24th, 2009

“Say only yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.” James 5:12 TEV

“Long after spoken, words may linger in a person’s heart or in their life, for good or bad.”

My thoughts today are: “careful what you say!”

It has been said with understated oversimplification, “words mean something!” Of course they do. With words God created all that you see and know of this physical universe. See Genesis 1:3/John 1:1-3/Hebrews 11:3 NIV. God obviously values the power of words.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, in my elementary school in North Venice, Illinois, planted the seeds in me to appreciate words. She taught me to want to use them well. My Dad taught me to want to use them wisely. I remember my Dad talking about it being important to “say what you mean, and always mean what you say!” He considered that a man was never any better than his word. I probably still need to practice the lessons from them both!

The Bible gives a good guideline; Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT. They can hurt or heal, encourage or discourage, teach or taunt, raise doubts or dispel them, inspire to greatness or incite to violence. Words are a priceless commodity used wisely and a tragic waste when squandered.

Sometimes a person may treat their words as though they mean nothing special. Words are flung into the air as though they are instantly disposable, evaporating with the hearing of them, but they don’t disappear even when you wish they would have. Everyone knows that words can linger for good or bad in another’s heart or mind – or in their life – long after they were spoken.

People use words they don’t really mean, just because they may feel that way at the moment. And when the feelings change, they wonder why their words still matter to someone that can’t just forget them. People use words to make promises they may not be as careful to keep. “Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought . . therefore let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2 NAS. Like everything else, too much of a good thing dilutes the value. There are words spoken I wish had not been, and times when words were left unspoken when I wish they had been. Good to know when to speak up; great to know when to shut up!

The Psalmist prayed this prayer, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord!” Psalm 19:14 NIV. That would probably be a good thing to ask every morning before you begin your day, and every evening when you return home. It’s good to have a Godly filter, and that honest prayer is the best one.

You will observe in life that no one will value your words any more than you seem to value them by making sure they are true, they are kind, and they are correct. Life will be smoother; friendships will be cleaner; misunderstandings and hurts will be fewer; apologies will be less needed, when you “say only yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.” Try it. I think you will be pleased to see how well that works.

My prayer for you today is: make your words count for what is eternal.

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