Living for Christ

November 2012 Daily Devotion Archive

November 1:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

And when [Jesus] had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?" So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee." - Matthew 21:10-11 (Full story: Read verses 1-11)

The King and the nations - As He entered the city, the Jews began to ask, "Who is this?" and the crowd with Him told them. I think this is interesting. These Jews were expecting Jesus to ride in on a stallion, sword in hand, ready to fight--expecting the Messiah to reign as King and rule over them and bring peace, saving them from the Roman dictatorship. Jesus did come to do all these things, just not the way the people thought it ought to be done. He rode in on a humble animal; His sword is the Word of Truth; He is about to conquer the greatest evil--the Devil and death for the souls of the world. Yet no one understands this. He came to save men from Hell and give peace and assurance of eternal life--not to rule them here on earth, but to rule their hearts, preparing for eternity with Him. He came not to take an earthly throne, but to sit at the right hand of God. His kingdom is not of this world. They did not understand!

November 2:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." - Matthew 24:4-8

The King and His return: Sure - Jesus' return is going to happen, weather you are ready or not. Much of this is happening now. Many deceivers are out there, some claiming to be Jesus, or trying to tell us that Jesus, the God of the Jews, and Allah are all the same--we know that is not true! There is only one true God. There are rumors of and wars that are going on as well as famine, diseases, and multiple earthquakes around the world (some in places unfamiliar with earthquakes). But this is not even the end. (to be continued tomorrow...)

November 3:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." - Matthew 24:9-14

The King and His return: Sure - (...continued from yesterday) There are wars, famine, diseases, and earthquakes in the world today, but this is not even the end; we may wish for it, but it is only the beginning. There are people being killed for their faith; we are offended so easily by one another, even to the point of hate; sin runs rampant like a cancer in homes, schools, and even churches. People are growing harder and more cold. Will you endure, standing up for Truth? Are you afraid to share God's Word to others? DO IT! Now IS the time!

November 4:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

"For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. ...Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." - Matthew 24:27, 30-31

The King and His return: Sudden - Suddenly, Jesus will come with a trumpet blast, and gather His children on the earth. Will you be ready for this glorious day or will you shrink back--ashamed of yourself, unprepared, putting of salvation for another day, living in sin while it suits you? Soon enough, you won't be able to keep putting it off. He will come and when He does, that's it. He will divide the just and the unjust and cast the unjust into Hell, and those who are His, will live in Heaven forever with Him.

November 5:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. ... Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." - Matthew 24:36-39, 44

The King and His return: A Secret - No one knows the hour; if they did, they would live their lives of sin to the last minute, and then ask for salvation. But hearts are growing cold, people do not believe the time for Jesus to come is at hand and will soon happen. We are living in the days of Noah, NOW! People, even youth and children, do not reverence the Holy God of Heaven, some do not even know Him. There is no mercy, no love for neighbors; strings are attached to motives and actions. Soon and very soon, He is coming. Are you ready?

November 6:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." - Matthew 26:26-29 (Full story: Read verses 17-29)

The King and His disciples: The Lord's Supper - For this I am not led to say much. This is a very sorrowful time. This Passover meal took place the night before Jesus' crucifixion. The cup is symbolic of the Savior's blood, and the bread His body. He is the fulfillment of the Law, and the Old Testament. He is our sacrificial Lamb.

November 7:
The Propaganda of the King of Judea: At Jerusalem

[Jesus] went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." - Matthew 26:39-42

The King and His disciples: The Lord's Sorrow - In the cup is God's wrath against mankind. Jesus drank your Hell and became a curse for us, separated from God, that we might have fellowship with God.

November 8:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the world's sight

But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. - Matthew 26:52-56

The Betrayal - Jesus' heart was not to go out fighting, just to do the Father's will. A legion in Rome army was equal to 6,000 men. Jesus had all of Heaven at His disposal, but He came to fulfill Scripture and do the will of God. Jesus reminds them that He sat with them in the temple and taught. Why did they not seize Him then? And to come with swords and clubs--why? He never fought anyone. I think they showed up because they feared His power and what He is capable of doing, yet He did not, nor would He, so that Scripture might be fulfilled.

November 9:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the world's sight

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?" They answered and said, "He is deserving of death." Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands." - Matthew 26:63-67 (Full story: Read verses 57-68)

Before Caiaphas - They could not prove that Jesus was guilty--among all these liars who testified against Him, not one! Look at verse 67; some of them there had palms in their hands. Could they be some of the people who praised Jesus and shouted "Hosanna!"? Maybe they are disappointed that Jesus is not fighting, not doing anything to be their king. He just stands there and takes it. Maybe in their minds they think He should DO something to save them from the Roman rule. But His ways are not our ways, and with God, things never are as they seem. He will save; they just don't know it.

November 10:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the world's sight

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. ... Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "It is as you say." And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly. - Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14

Before the Sanhedrin - The first two trials were illegal because they were held during the night, so they took Jesus to Pilate during the day because he had the authority to execute and they did not.

November 11:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the world's sight

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. ... The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!" Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!" Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!" When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." - Matthew 27:15, 21-24

Before Pilate - Pilate here is conflicted; he knows Jesus is innocent, and the priests and elders were envious, and wanted Him killed. So the priests and elders persuaded the crowd to chant, "release Barabbas and crucify Christ!" Pilate was not yet done trying to get the crowd to realize this is an innocent man! Only when he saw that a riot was about to rise, he washed his hands of it and turned Jesus over to the crowd.

November 12:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the world's sight

Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots." Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. ... And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. - Matthew 27:35-38, 50 (Full story: Read verses 35-50)

Before Jerusalem - What is interesting here is the sign they placed over Jesus' head stating He IS the king of the Jews. And yet no one would admit that they believed that He truly was. The people wanted to see a sign that He was the Son of God and the robbers, in their selfishness, wanted Jesus to save Himself AND them. The people were curious to see what Jesus would do leading up to His death. He did nothing that they could see, but died like a man who was crucified. It is finished, and He died.

November 13:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the world's sight

On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, After three days I will rise. Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, He has risen from the dead. So the last deception will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. - Matthew 27:62-66

The Burial - The death of Jesus was not enough to satisfy the priests and Pharisees; they wanted a guard o watch the tomb so that the disciples could not take Jesus' body and claim He had risen. Well, they got their request--now look at what happens next.

November 14:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the disciples' sight

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. - Matthew 28:1

Fulfilled Resurrection - Think about it this way: From Mary's (mother of Jesus) point of view, she is wondering where her son is! She had seen so much and stored so much in her heart, remembering when the angel met her and told her she would have a son and call his name Jesus. To think of the time she and Joseph thought him lost and there he sat amongst the teachers of the law at age 12--she stored all this in her heart. And now she wants to see her son's body. rom Mary Magdalene's viewpoint, Jesus her Lord healed her from 7 devils. He chose to love her as she was, and entered in. She is no longer empty. She followed and served Jesus with the other disciples; they did what they could to minister to His needs, to the one who had nowhere to lay His head. She followed Jesus down the Galilean road in awe and wonder at His words and miracles.

November 15:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the disciples' sight

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. - Matthew 28:1

Fulfilled Resurrection - In the garden, these women stood, crying and weeping. Staying close to Him at a distance, they would not let Him go to His death alone. Despite the pain they felt and their fears, they chose to remain near their Lord, Mary to her son. The Pharisees threatened to expel Jesus' followers from the synagogue, and they did not know what to expect now. But when all others left Him, these two could not. They trembled as the crowd grew hostile. They were frightened. How could the crowd praise Him one minute, and so quickly turn against the man who gave, who healed them, and loved them with such a passion? I am sure these women did not understand, but they trusted Him. They followed Jesus to the Skull, stood at the foot of the cross, and what they saw there tore their hearts. Each nail that was driven ripped into the hands that lifted them; the spear pierced the heart that beat for His people. He said, "It is finished," and died. These two stayed with Him long after the crowd left and the wailing faded. Their Lord, Mary's son, is dead. They don't understand, but they trust Him.

November 16:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the disciples' sight

But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you." So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me." Matthew 28:5-10

Fulfilled Resurrection - The tomb sealed, they did not want to believe that He could go. They went to the tomb at dawn with spices to embalm Jesus. When they reached the tomb, they could not believe their eyes! The stone was rolled back! They rushed off to tell Peter. He came when the world was dead, and now He rose to bring us life! If you were the only one on earth, He still would have died. So I ask you, who holds the hammer and the nails? He does not condemn you, for He was condemned by you. You owe Him your life, for He gave you His. There is so much some of you do not understand. He stands before you now--only trust Him.

November 17:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the disciples' sight

Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept. And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. - Matthew 28:11-15

Fleeting Revelation - Jesus did it! He rose from the dead and is victor over death!! Now, they still did not want to believe, or they did but did not want to be killed by the governor--because what Jesus said would happen, DID! If the soldiers did not do their job, then they would have to give their lives for His. So the priest said to lie so nothing would happen to them.

November 18:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the disciples' sight

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. - Matthew 28:16-20

Final Commands - Jesus has risen and is speaking to the disciples face to face. He is telling them to begin the church. He is going to send the Holy Spirit to help and empower. Go everywhere and teach others what they now have learned from Him. And He promises to be with us to the end of the age, until He returns.

November 19:
The Passing of the King: Passing from the disciples' sight

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. - Matthew 28:19-20

Future Companionship - How good of a job are you doing at teaching the commands of Jesus. Are YOU living the commands yourself? The commands are summed up in this: Love your neighbor as yourself, and have NO other gods before the one true GOD! (Note: This is the conclusion of our study of the book of Matthew.)

November 20:
Challenges: Stir up; Be not ashamed; Endure

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. ... Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God. ... You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. - 2 Timothy 1:6, 1:8, 2:3

Are you using your spiritual gifts from God? Are you developing and devoting time to your gifts? What the apostle is saying here is you need to be on fire for the Lord and use your gifts to further the body of Christ, and His kingdom. ... Do you shrivel up when faced with opportunity to witness or share your testimony? Paul is writing to encourage Timothy and us to not shrink back, but to stand boldly for our Lord and not be ashamed. To share in suffering is to daily pick up your cross and follow Christ. ... A call for faithfulness! To press on! Like a soldier in battle, we are called into spiritual warfare. A soldier goes through much training, and ruthless drills to prepare him or herself for war, or battle. Soldiers endure the elements of nature around them (hot, cold, hunger, tiredness), yet they press on. We are to be like a soldier: prepared, ready and willing to endure hardships for our Lord, pressing ON!

November 21:
Incentives: Remember; Paul's example

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. ... For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. ... Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. - 2 Timothy 1:6, 12; 2:8-9

We have a sure future and hope in Heaven, because Jesus died and was raised from the dead! We ought to be taking advantage of every opportunity to use our gifts from God, and share our faith with others so that they too might have this hope of eternal life. ... God is not limited by our limitations. His message will go forth!

November 22:
Challenges: Charge; Study; Shun; Avoid (Refuse)

Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. ... But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 2 Timothy 2:14-16, 23

Remind the people of His life, death, and resurrection, and His power! Some people of the day did not believe that Jesus' resurrection was literal. We are to tell others this truth, and our lives are to be a witness of this truth. Imagine what He can do with you if you are willing to be used. ... We are to know the Word, obey the Word, and share the Word. When we know the Word, we need not to be ashamed, because we know what is true and can stand up for Truth in this dark world, and shine this light of Truth. ... When you know the Truth, you will be able to identify people who don't and you should not give them the time of day. They speak lies, and you should depart from them. Their lives increase in sin more and more. ... In the book of Proverbs it tells us that a gentle answer turns away wrath. How often do you give a gentle answer or do you fight with your words trying to make your point? It is easy to get "fired up" at times, but we are to restrain the urge to blast out with our words.

November 23:
Incentives: Foundation sure; Soul rescued

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." ... and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:19, 26

We are Christ's church. So for each believer, we have this solid foundation, which is God's truth that we are saved by the blood of Jesus. If you are His child you are sealed and He knows you. If you have a relationship with the Holy God, then you must turn from your wickedness, walking in holiness and purity. ... False teachers are lost, and ensnared by the devil. They lead many others astray. This is what was going on at this time in the Bible, and if you think about it, it is going on now. Within the churches we have arguments and divisions. That is the devil's way, not God's way. These persons are taken captive by the devil, most not even realizing it. Are you one of them?

November 24:
Challenges: Perilous times; Continue thou

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come ... But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. - 2 Timothy 3:1, 14 (Full passage: Read verses 1-9)

Listen to this! We ARE in the last days! Look again at the long list that is given. Verse 5 says that people will appear to be godly, and will have all sorts of evil in their hearts, minds, actions, and reactions. The Bible says we will know believers by their fruit--you cannot be His child and act or think this way. As a Christian, you WILL take on the characteristics of your Father in Heaven. If you see people like this around you, turn away from them, lest you are tempted to sin. These false believers try to press their false religion onto others. This is war! A spiritual war: The devil is taking captive believers, and using them to spread lies, turning them in to wolves in sheep's clothing, and deceiving many. Do not be ignorant, read the word of God and pray for knowledge! ... Here is the challenge and charge to a believer: continue in the truth, continue learning this truth. Have assurance in what you have learned from the Word and trustworthy teachers.

November 25:
Incentives: Paul's example; Scripture

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra-what persecutions I endured. And out of them all, the Lord delivered me. ... and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2Timothy 3:10-11, 15-16

Paul here is telling Timothy how he has lived. Many times he has said, "follow my example, for I follow the Lord's". Timothy saw in Paul, the Lord's example. What kind of example would others say they see in you? ... All scripture is God-breathed, meaning God wrote through His people, the Bible. God is the author. It is to be used for doctrine, to teach others the foundational truths of salvation. It is used for reproof, to bring others under conviction. It is used for correction, when a believer is strayed. When there are divisions or disputes among believers, turn to the faithful Word of God for the answer; uphold all your decisions to the Word of God. It is used for instruction in righteousness, for training others to understand who God is in our lives, to have knowledge about Him and to apply that understanding and knowledge to your life, and to walk in righteousness, blamelessness, and holiness before God.

November 26:
Challenges: Preach the Word; Do the work of an evangelist

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. ... But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. - 2 Timothy 4:2, 5

In all situations, be ready to speak the Word of truth, for any reason, and for His name's sake. Would you take a stand? Are you prepared to? Could you be patient with another as you tell them the Word of God, or in rebuking another believer? ... As believers, we are to be sober, for the coming is near. We are to endure many hardships in this life, yet we are to encourage other believers in their faith walk, to share the Word of God with others. If you are alive, you have purpose, and God has a plan for you. The Bible says in Ephesians, "live a life worthy of your call" You are called to share the Gospel. Does your life reflect one of righteousness and holiness?

November 27:
Incentives: The coming kingdom; The coming crown

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. ... Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. - 2 Timothy 4:1, 8

This is very important. Jesus will return to judge. What are you doing to save some lost soul? We are called to share His truth; the time is drawing near when angels will harvest the earth. Is there someone you know right now that needs to hear about Jesus? Go, and share with them before it is too late. ... For those Christians who do the work of the Father, His will here on earth, will receive a crown of righteousness. This is also for those who look in the sky, longing for His return. On such a day, I believe that for every crown and heavenly gift given to us from the Father, we will bow low, and place them all at His feet, for we did all these things on earth out of service and love for Him, for He sent His son to die for us. We are thankful; we are only worthy because He makes us so. Yet we'll lay it all at His feet. I'm just thankful and grateful He saved me, such a sinner, and allowed me into His kingdom to live with Him forever.

November 28:
The Nature of True Religion: Stability

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. - James 1:2-3 (Full passage: Read verses 2-12)

Through trials you learn what you are made of! Testing of your faith teaches you patience and perseverance. If you ask our Heavenly Father for something, ask in faith. Faith is believing what you cannot see. In this case, you can't see the outcome of your circumstances, but God is already there. Ask His will be done. You know if He wills it, He will do it! The Nelson Bible Commentary says this about the double-minded person: Double-minded is literally "two souls." If one part of a person is set on God and the other is set on this world there will be constant conflict within (see Matthew 6:24). James gives two examples of trials: one is poor, and the other rich. It is hard for a rich man to need anything or anyone, so their trial is to give up their worldly prestige, possessions, and pursuits. He should trust in the Lord and not all his money. The poor are tempted to envy and covet--always wanting more--but he should "glory" because he has little, for God is able to mold his character. Do you love the Lord to endure and receive your reward, the crown of life?

November 29:
The Nature of True Religion: Endurance

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. - James 1:12-18

Love God by pressing on through the temptations; you will receive your reward! God does not tempt, you can't blame Him for your temptations. We have a mind, we chose to do wrong--you are never forced to sin. God is everything good; all good comes from Him. He desires to form us into His righteousness, so we will be a holy people.

November 30:
The Nature of True Religion: Action

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. - James 1:19-27 (Full passage: Read verses 19-27)

When we are in conflict, how often do we listen well to the other person, before we barge ahead and state our own mind? We need to love our brother or sister in the Lord. Hold your tongue and listen, be slow to wrath, and be slow in arguing your point. This does not set a Christian example to the other person or to those who witness it. And if a child sees this and you cause them to stumble in their faith, Jesus said, "it would be better if you had a boulder tied around your neck and thrown to the bottom of the sea." More than this, we sin when we act in this manner. You see, we also must be teachable, not hard-headed, which leads to a hardened heart. We are to learn from the Word and apply it to our daily lives, setting an example for others. The perfect law is love; if you are in conflict with your neighbor, where is your love? There is no love in conflict. Proverbs says a harsh word stirs up wrath, and a gentle answer turns away strife. Keep yourself far from the world, and that includes the way you think, the attitudes of your heart, your intentions, and what you say.