FAITH WITH WORKS – Works!


James 2:17-26 – “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”  NASB

The belief that a certain type of medicine will cure a disease does not bring about the cure.  The medicine must be acquired and administered to have the desired effect.  Believing a certain weapon will bring about a win in a war will not bring about the victory.  The weapon must be acquired and used to bring about the desired result.  Likewise, the belief that God desires for His people to prosper and win souls dos not fill the alters or the purses.  Actions are required.  Therefore, I declare that “Faith with Works, Works!”

Caleb from the Old Testament is a wonderful example and illustration of faith with works that worked.  Consider his situation and the results and I believe you will agree with my assessment.

First, there was something that he wanted.  He said, in Joshua 14:12, “Now, therefore, give me this mountain…”  He had worked for this promise.  He had waited for this promise.  Now, he was ready to receive it. 

Second, he had a promise and acted upon that promise as seen in 14:9, “and Moses swore on that day, saying…”  As far as Caleb was concerned, God has promised him an inheritance and he believed God’s promise.

Third, Caleb demonstrated both determination and confidence.  He wanted what had been promised 45 years earlier believing it was rightfully his.  He knew that he had followed the LORD fully and that God was on his side, therefore he could not fail.  He believed that he could accomplish the task of dispossessing those now occupying his promise.  He was confident that if God said it, God would do it and that he could do anything through God.

In 2 Chronicles 20:20 we read, “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe in His prophets, so shall you prosper.”  In Hebrews 11:6, we find, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

If we expect to accomplish anything for God, we must not only believe it possible but DO IT!  Caleb’s actions are an ideal pattern for us to follow.  There must be an Object or Objective.  There must be a Promise and a Provision for that Object or Objective from the LORD.  We must have both Determination and Confidence.

I don’t do formulas, spiritually, but let me suggest that it is God’s Word plus Man’s Action upon God’s Word that results in the Miraculous Fulfillment.  So, I ask you, “What do you want to accomplish for Jesus?”  First, seek His face and His will.  Next, find the scriptural basis for that objective.  Finally, believe! 

God bless you as you embark on today’s leg of your life’s journey!

WHY ARE THERE BACKSLIDERS?


Proverbs 14:14 – “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his.”  NASB

You may never have asked that question, but I have.  It has troubled me in my years of ministry that some seem to drift away from God and turn back as a hog returning to wallowing in the mud.  Why would anyone, after tasting the sweetness and peace of Salvation turn back and away from God? 

Although I want to give a few possible reasons, I acknowledge that there is probably no definitive and exhaustive answer to the question.  That, however, does not preclude the need to ask and answer as best we can, “Why Are There Backsliders?”  If this helps one person avoid that pitfall it is worth the time and effort.  A healthy relationship with God is worth more than all this world’s goods combined.  So, let’s tackle this briefly and highlight a few potential reasons for this problem.

Number One, The Absence of Spiritual Leaders is one potential problem.  I find that in studying the Old Testament and the nation of Israel that when Moses stayed on the mountain with God too long for their comfort, they turned to idols.  Hosea, warned, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.”  Jesus instructed in John 8:32, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  The apostle Paul, in Romans 10 informed us that to believe we must hear and to hear we must have someone bring the word to us and in verse seventeen he said, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

The absence of Spiritual Leaders opens the door to a spirit of indifference.  When the ministry becomes more a profession than a calling that door is swung wide for the enemy to enter, discourage, distract, and shift the focus of the people.  When there is no clear proclamation of God’s Truth souls are left undernourished and unfed.  In that situation, new converts, if there are any, are improperly rooted and anchored in the Word of God. 

The need for spiritual leadership is incredibly important and vital for the health of the Church and the individual believer.  We need spiritual leaders who will fearlessly and faithfully teach and preach the Word of God, give guidance in holy living, and provide support and encouragement in times of difficulty, testing, and trial.  I have prayed for a long time, “LORD, give us more Elijah’s, Elisha’s, and Paul’s.”  We need more, true spiritual leaders, we don’t need more hirelings.

Number Two, is Evil Associations.  The Bible is filled in both Testaments with warnings of associations with the ungodly and evil persons.  We discover in 2 Kings 11 how Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from God.  Lot, in a major way, lost his influence on the inhabitants of Sodom.  Ungodly company, activities, and surrounds have a way of penetrating the consecration.  We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to “shun the very appearance of evil.”

Number Three, is Worldly Success.  No, I am not opposed to success or trying to preach against personal prosperity in this world.  It is not just prosperity but success on any front that can open the door to backsliding.  Remember in 2 Chronicles 25 how Amaziah’s victories in battle opened the door for him to turn to strange gods.  Israel, on more than one occasion, turned to strange gods in a time when they experienced great victories militarily. 

With success comes the responsibility of stewardship.  Some have been richly blessed only to grow cold in their hearts and trusting the wealth and success rather than God.  If it important that we always remember Who prospered us.  It is imperative that we maintain an attitude of gratitude and honor the one who prospered us and follow Him fully. 

Number Four, could be Shallowness Spiritually.  I suggest that you restudy and rehearse the story of Jesus in Luke 18 about the sower and the seed on rocky soil, good soil, etc.  We need to invest ourselves in a daily study of God’s Word and allow that Word to become integrated into our thinking and being.  That’s why we need the full armor of God.

Number Five, could be Love of This World.  Paul lamented in 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas has forsaken me for the love of this present world.”  We are warned in 1 John 2:15 to, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”  That passage reminds us of the truth that if the love of the world takes top place in our hearts and minds it crowds out our love for God, not His love for us.  The Scripture teaches that where our heart is that is where our treasure is.

My suggestion is, as you go through each day, ask the help of the Holy Spirit to keep your mind stayed on Jesus and keep looking to the author and finisher of our Faith.  Reject the offerings of this world when they try to crowd out the things of God.  Your soul is worth more than any momentary pleasure, vengeance, or monetary prosperity. 

God bless you as you press into His presence and live in the abundant life Jesus came to bring and has brought!

GOD’S PROMISES ARE NOT IDLE WORDS…


Isaiah 48:17-19 – “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,

“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.  18 “If only you had paid attention to My commandments!  Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19 “Your descendants would have been like the sand, And your offspring like its grains; Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”  NASB

I know this was something that God said to Israel but as a child of God, I receive it unto myself as a promise to All Who Believe! Consider what He says here:

  1. He Identifies Himself.

He is the LORD our God.  He is I AM THAT I AM.  This is coming from the Redeemer, the Bright Morning Star, the Alpha and Omega, and our Provider.  This is not just anyone speaking, IT IS GOD!

  • He Teaches Us to Profit.

Our financial and economic well-being is in His hands, not the government, not our position, not our intellect, not our beauty, and not in the arm of flesh.  Our source is God and He “teaches us to profit.”

  • He Leads Us in The Way We Should Go.

His Word is a light to our pathway and a lamp to our feet.  We have the inner voice of the Holy Spirit that whispers softly and gently, “this is the way walk in it.”  We have His assurance that He will go before us and make the pathway straight.

  • He Gives A Stern Warning That Carries a Promise.

Look at verse 18 – “If only you had paid attention to My Commandments” THEN…

  1. Your well-being would have been like a river.  It still can be if we turn our hearts to Him and seek Him first above all else.
  2. Your Righteousness would have been like the waves of the sea. There is still hope if we “repent” and “return” to Him in total commitment.
  3. Your descendants would have been like the sand with the offspring as numerous as the grains of sand.  Our posterity can be a living legacy of God’s mercy, grace, and goodness.
  4. Your name would never be cut off or destroyed from God’s presence.  I will dwell in the House of the Lord FOREVER!

God does not make idle promises or idle threats.  He seeks our best and desires to bring us into fellowship with Him in order to enable us to walk in the Fullness of His Promises.

The sad reality is that too many fall prey to the gloom and doom that is prevalent in today’s society. They look at what man can and is doing rather than what God can and is doing.  It’s not by might or power but by God’s Grace that we make it through.  That does not mean we do not stay active and engaged in what is happening around us, it simply means that we Never allow “fear” to overcome us.  We are people who Have Hope because of our God!  There are enemies who would destroy us and everything that we hold dear, but we are More than Conquerors through our LORD!

Therefore, as you face this day and the days that follow “reject” fear and “receive” the Promises of our LORD!  Take them to heart and rest in them.  Then when you stand against the onslaught of the wicked you do so with Complete Confidence knowing that God is backing you up!  If God is for us, what difference does it make who is against us? 

May God be with you as you go through this day and bring great peace and make your way prosperous as you seek Him and His Kingdom!  Blessings!

JUST BE HONEST WITH GOD…


Psalm 13:1 “O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?”

Psalm 10:1 “Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”

Psalm 22: 2 “Every day I call to you, my God but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.”

It is my deep conviction that the only approach to our relationship with God is, to be Honest!  If you are angry with Him, you might as well express it, it’s in your heart and He already knows.  Harboring it inside and not giving it release can lead to a “root of bitterness” springing up and not only will you be defiled but others around.  It is like a poison that will ultimately spread and affect your relationship with God and others.  On the other hand, if you openly admit to God how you truly feel, He can and will address that and minister to you, where you are, and bring you into an abiding relationship with Him.

Sadly for ages, too many in the Church have become experts at “wearing masks”.  We put on our Sunday faces but the heart is still the same.  We fool many people much of the time but we can Never fool God any time.  This is borne out by the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” NASB

If you are disappointed. If the prayer you are praying has not been answered in the way that you desire. If tragedy has come to your dwelling and you are less than pleased with God – Tell Him!  He already knows and can only help you when you get totally honest with him!  As long as you hide behind a pretend righteousness you will only decline in your spiritual relationship.  However, when you become totally honest with God you will find that He is Immediately on the scene with His “Unconditional Love” and “Immeasurable Grace” to minister to you where you are, in the condition you are, and at the level of understanding, you have. 

It is as I’ve said many times regarding my earthly father and his love for me.  I never questioned that he loved me. It was not until I was fully grown, had come back from Vietnam, and entered the ministry that I heard him say, “Roy, I love you!” 

I knew he loved me, and although I longed to hear it from him, it was not the way he was brought up and not the way he manifested his love.  Yet, the first two years of my life the doctors gave my dad and my mother no hope that I would live to be a teenager.  They could not find what was wrong with me but I was sick and not getting better.  The range of possibilities of what was wrong covered a wide array of possible deadly diseases. 

It was through my dad’s keen observation of events and the work of God my dad observed that when we left the Pasadena, Texas area and went to East Texas for a couple of weeks I would get better.  He went to the doctor and asked if there was a possible connection and the doctors advised that it was possible.  That prompted my Dad to send my mother, me and my little sister to East Texas to my grandparents for a month and during that time I got much better.

That reality prompted my Dad to quit the best job would ever hold in his lifetime and move to East Texas. For the rest of his life worked in much lesser jobs, but never complained about the sacrifice he made so that I could live. I always knew in my heart that it was an act of great love.  Thus, I suggest that even when you do not see what you think God should be doing, if you will look to the Cross you will immediately realize that God’s love is Never in Question. We question in our own human understanding but we must never question God’s Love or His Motives. We need to trust that love and be Completely Honest with Him in all things. 

Honesty brings a liberty that cannot be attained any other way.  In fact, it was when we “confessed our sins with our mouths, and believed in our hearts” that God brought to us the New Birth.  No pretense, no wearing a mask, just open and honest admission of our condition and our failure to measure up.  It was the throwing of ourselves on the Mercy of God that brought us freedom spiritually.  Therefore, Be Honest with the Lord and remember He already knows and His purpose is not to judge and condemn you but to bring you to Redemption!

        May God walk with you as you go through your day and bring you great peace!  Blessings!

       

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD IS NEVER IN QUESTION…


Deuteronomy 7:9-11 – “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. 11 “Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.” NASU

1 Corinthians 1:9 – “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” NASU

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. “  NASU

2 Timothy 2:13 – “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” NKJV

I cannot count the number of times I’ve had somebody ask me, “Why did God let this happen?”  At other times, I’ve been asked, “Why didn’t God do this or that for me?”  I had a preacher tell me once that there was a time in his life that he became so disillusioned and angry with the Lord over what he perceived to be a series of unanswered prayers in which he saw his father, his son, and a close friend die within a short span. He had reached is lowest point.

As he wallowed in his fear, doubt, and disappointment he found himself yelling at God. One day he became so angry that he took his Bible and threw it across the room. It was at that moment the Holy Spirit whispered to his heart, “Go ahead, let it all out, I still love you!”  Instantly he realized that although he could not explain why he suffered the loss he knew that each of them was safe in the Arms of God in Heaven and in a far better world than he was and as he repented a new joy flooded his heart.

I am fully confident that God will NEVER leave me nor will He FORSAKE me and will keep that which I have committed to Him for eternity.  I am confident that Jesus’ promise to Come Again was not idle words and that He truly is before the Throne making Intercession for you and me as I write.  I am confident that in His Father’s House are many Mansions, Rooms, or Dwelling Places (whichever you prefer) and that we can spend eternity with Him there.  I am confident that God is a Covenant Keeping God who NEVER goes back on His word and NEVER misses an appointment!

I have failed others and God in my life and each time it broke my heart.  I always tell people, don’t get your eyes on me because I am human and subject to let you down.  It won’t be intentional but still, I’m a flawed vessel and subject to failure.  I may disappoint you so, please never look to me always look to Him!  I can only see the outward appearance He sees the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  I can only see the beginning from the end but He can see the end from the beginning!  I am finite He is infinite!  I am weak but He is strong! 

As you go through the remaining days of 2019, I encourage you to take stock of your life over the past year and ask the Lord to reveal any areas in which you can or need to make a renewed commitment to Him in.  I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to do a work of transformation in your heart that will cause you to walk more in tune with His desires and purposes in all areas of your life.  I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but I do take stock of my life and consider the obvious kinks in my armor and the flaws in my walk and ask the Lord to help me walk in the Light of His Love more and more every day!

It is my desire and prayer that the Lord grant, you Perfect Peace as your mind is fixed on Him!  I love you with the Love of the Lord and He loved you enough to die for you!

May God bless you as you go through your day! 

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS…


Hebrews 13:15-16 – “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  NASB

Each year on Christmas Day it has been my heart’s desire and practice to set aside some time to reflect on God’s Gift to mankind and His goodness to me and my family during the year.  I’ve had numerous ask me to participate in a specific time to pause all festivities and engage in a time of Thanksgiving and Praise to the Lord on this special day.  All that is good and worthy of involvement and consideration, yet I have one more thing to suggest.

On this day, the Day after Christmas called ‘Boxing Day’ in many parts of the world and celebrated in various forms many include giving to the poor and needy.  I would suggest that after you have opened all your presents, enjoyed the festivities with family and/or friends that you take a moment to evaluate your own blessings and determine to share something with those less fortunate.  I hope that you have already done this prior to Christmas Day but if you have not then I would encourage you to consider an endeavor that the Bible makes clear is pleasing to God and something that He routinely blesses – – Giving to the Needy! 

Maybe you received something that you simply do not need and rather than return or exchange it for something for yourself. I ask you to consider taking it or the refund for it and doing something for those who did not have the wherewithal to celebrate this day with gifts for their children or family.  Maybe they need food, clothing, or shelter and your contribution regardless of how small would make a meaningful difference in their lives today.  Maybe you simply do not know of anyone in that condition or situation, but I would suggest that your church does some of the local charities that are worthy and honorable do or maybe friends, family, or neighbors do.  Ask and you just might be surprised how near to your physical local the needy are.

I am not trying to shame anyone into doing something.  I am simply suggesting that we count our blessings and then consider the possibility of giving a blessing to someone who is not as fortunate or blessed as we today.  I believe that it will prove to be an excellent catalyst into the coming year and propel you to even greater heights in your spiritual journey and may even be a significant factor in your financial development in the coming year.

Jesus said that we would have the poor with us always so we are not going to stamp out poverty and need but we can be aware of it and minister to it when it is revealed to us and within our ability to do so. 

May God bless you and provide you with a joyous day and year! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


If anyone is reading this blog post today, this is the date many of us have set aside to recognize and honor the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and pray that the rest of this year and the next will be prosperous and filled with peace. 

            I would like to share something that I wrote in 1999 entitled “Christmas.”

When we are young, and life is like a flowering tree

We think only of the moment, and what is in it for me.

Christmas is a time of anticipation,

Youthful joy and expectation.

What will we get?  What can we do?

It is all about me and little about you.

Then in our teens, those rebellious years

We bring to our parents both joy and tears.

Christmas is a time of anticipation,

Youthful joy and expectation.

Why can’t I go off with my friends and be allowed to see,

What this world can offer me?

Then as young adults with children of our own

We are not the parents and the worries to us belong.

Christmas is a time of our children’s anticipation

Waiting to see if we fulfilled their expectations.

If we fail, this we will hear, “But I wanted the latest and hottest fad,

I didn’t get it and now I am mad!”

Then come the twilight years,

Alone to face our aging fears.

Children and grandchildren are grown with families of their own,

It’s Christmas and we are alone.

Forgotten, it seems with no one to share

Life’s little joys and no one seems to care.

Remember this in your Christmas of Twilight

As you turn inward and face the darkness of life’s night,

It is not the specific day that makes Christmas so dear.

It is not even the time of the year.

It is that your family has set one day aside,

To join you and celebrate there by your side.

© Roy Beaird 1999

            MERRY CHRISTMAS!  God bless everyone!