The Reality of James 4:3

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The word of God is alive. The written, logos, word has the ability to jump up from the page and slap you, pierce your heart, leave you breathless, render you paralysed and make you stunned. Well at least it does that for me and yet every time something happens, I marvel at how God’s word can affect me. How it can bring illumination and understanding. How one scripture can take on different meanings in different seasons and still not be contradictory. A scripture that you have read many times, at the right moment, has the ability to turn your perspective upside down. How great is our God!

Shortly before this current revelation, I had read the scripture in James and nodded at the truth of it.  Then I moved on. Not knowing that God would bring me right back to that place; to derail a train of thought that was going steadily along its way.

James 4:3 (leading in from vs 2) states: You do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.’ (NASB)

Truthfully I cannot say how many times I have said to myself “You do not have because you do not ask” and thus the asking begins. In this particular case, I was asking earnestly; asking every day for God to move. Specifically for God to work in someone’s heart and bring about change. They needed an encounter with Jesus. Their life would be so much better, I reasoned, if they would only surrender and let God have full control. They would be less angry, more pleasant and nicer if only God would touch them. So I asked, fervently and….nothing.

I had made my move. Now it was God’s turn to answer.

While attending a seminar, James 4:3 was used as part of a presentation and at that moment it was as if the Holy Spirit pulled out a megaphone and a highlighter. I heard it and saw it, LOUD and CLEAR. Something like this: BECAUSE YOU ASK WITH THE WRONG MOTIVES!!!!

The presenter then went on to say that God may not change a situation for your growth.  Teaching you to love people in spite of their faults because something in you needs to change. Sound familiar? Speck in their eye vs plank in yours? (Matt 7:4)

It was at that moment that I realised that all my asking had been because the other person’s transformation would have made my life easier. No more butting heads or feeling frustrated. No relying on the fruits of the Spirit. Just ease. I had been asking for my pleasure. Not solely for their benefit.

Wrong motives.

Now, I stop, think and listen before I take something to Father. Ok, sometimes after as well. The requests that are made to Him need to line up with His guidelines.

My 7-year old asked me if God ever says ‘No’. I had to smile because I know He does. All the time. We don’t always ask smart things. We need to examine our hearts before Him knowing that our hearts can deceive us.

As for the person that was the subject of the prayers: I know God’s timing will be perfect in their life, that they will know His unconditional love and that His plan and purpose will bring them to a place of joy, peace and rest in knowing Him.

 

—–Marisse Cropper—–

 

 

 

 

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Grace, grace, God’s grace!

For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. (Titus 2:11). 

This year one of my dreams was fulfilled and that was to travel to Europe..Italy to be exact. I usually pick an aisle seat on airplanes but this time around I got a window seat en route to the U.K…and for a really great reason. At some point I looked out the window and realized we were directly over the Alps. Wowww!! What an unforgettable sight! I felt swallowed up in its vastness and took a few moments just to marvel at God’s creative power..and to think I would’ve missed it if I had an aisle seat. Isn’t God good!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼.
As I looked in between these vast mountains, inside the crevices and valleys I could make out roads and houses where people lived.. in between all of that vastness!!!

Isn’t that a picture of God’s grace! Mountains upon mountains of limitless grace whose vastness is beyond comprehension yet we can freely live, move and have our being in it. That grace reached through time and space to save us from sin and eternal death and is the same grace that sustains us every day of our lives. It’s the gift that keeps on giving as God just keeps blessing us through His grace.

Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. (John 1:16) 

And..it gets even better!! It’s free, which means we don’t have to work up a sweat striving for it. Only GOD could give such grace!!!

For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If you don’t know Jesus, receive this free gift of grace today. When Jesus is Lord of your life, you can know that you are covered and filled with a never ending supply of His grace for whatever life may bring. So why keep it to yourself!! Extend that same grace to others.

From great heights to valleys low, grace like fountains overflow, filling every empty place, only God’s grace can sustain and save. (CHJ 2017)

Here’s a song for today:If not for your grace (Israel and New Breed)

Have an awesome one!
By Carol-angel Jackson

A word from God

Are you experiencing famine? Many are! Yes, we see the obvious..price hikes in the supermarkets, price hikes at the gas pumps and people who genuinely struggle daily to eat and provide for their families. 

However, we may be less aware of a more dangerous famine..that the word of God and the hearing/heeding to His word is absent.  

Instead we see another law at work. “I gotta look out for me!” The hustle is real and there are those, from all walks of life, who will do whatever it takes to survive.  

Those of us who know Christ, let us not keep the Word just hidden inside of our hearts, or keep it in the four walls of our churches. People are starving for God’s word. They may not know it..but they are starving. The real famine is a famine for the word of God. 

Matthew‬ ‭10:27‬ ‭NIV What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

Help bring healing, direction, salvation and deliverance. Speak the word of God into someone’s life today. Pray the word of God over them. Give godly advice according to God’s word. While helping to meet felt needs, let us help meet the spiritual needs of a starving world. Only the word.. living and active, brings life!! 

Have a blessed day my sisters.

Worship for today: Jeremy Camp – Word of Life 

Carol-angel Jackson

Lift up your eyes – the Lord is your keeper

These are difficult times for all of us but regardless of what we may go through, the Lord has promised to keep and preserve us. So, let us lift up our eyes to Him!

We have only one anchor and that is Jesus! Hold onto Him and you will not sink under the pressure. He will give you the strength to bear up under it and you will find new courage in the midst of your battles. 
We lift up our eyes to you Lord! 

Be encouraged in His word today and let us find rest as we worship in His presence. Worship for today: My help (cometh from the Lord) – The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Much blessings and love 
Carol-angel Jackson 

The fear of the Lord at work.


Daniel 6:23 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. 

Happy Saturday everyone! 

This week as prayer requests came into a chat group I’m a member of, a few of them were concerning work situations. 

We spend 8 hours of a day at work, relating and interacting with co-workers and clients. With that much time spent on a daily basis, stuff is bound to happen! Can I tell you!  There will be confrontations, disagreements and unfortunately there will be those who revert to hypercritical, manipulative and deceptive means to “better” their position. This leads to distrust and tense working environments. 

As Christians we are called to be different but not passive! Our faith must mean something and be what we act upon. Situations at work give the believer an opportunity to demonstrate that they work for the Lord and fear Him. The result is that they receive the wisdom of God to guide them, a wisdom that is far more superior than the world’s wisdom!

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding/insight/good judgement.

What does this mean and how does it influence the way we act at work?

1. It means working with excellence not just of skill but of character..demonstrating that a higher wisdom, not the wisdom of this world guides our lives.

James 3: 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 

2. It means taking serious ownership of what God has entrusted us with. Work heartily, being diligent in the service of others as a faithful steward. The principle of sowing and reaping not only applies to tithing and church, but work!  When we work like this, God will give increase and reward us. Promotion comes from Him!

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

This mindset gives such a powerful approach to work! I was having a conversation with my Pastor’s daughter, a university student. She was saying that so many young people are unsure and searching for their purpose but if they occupied themselves, using what they have in service to others..they will find their purpose. I thought this truly profound and had to share!

3. It also means, minding your own business. You’re there to work, not gossip and take sides. If you’re in a position of authority you will have to at times step in to solve work issues but if not, stay out of it and don’t be drawn into work conflicts unnecessarily! You will win the respect of others for your impartiality and taking the higher road. 
1 Thess  4:11-12 (NLT) 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

4. It means that although we have goals we’d like to achieve, we do not seek to “climb the ladder” by any means necessary, using people for our gain. This is worldly wisdom and the Holy Spirit won’t have it!

James 3: 14-18 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 

5. It means controlling our tongues when we are cursed and badly spoken of. We firmly stand our ground without responding in the same way or stirring up confusion and bad-talking others among our workmates. When we have opportunity we use our tongues to make peace not war!

James 3:2 For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

6. It means that we understand that we represent God’s Kingdom. Our God has all dominion and His Kingdom is above all the kingdoms of this world. Don’t fear what people do or say, fear God and keep His commandments.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

7. Most importantly, it means that we are to bring work and our co-workers/clients before the King, our God in prayer daily. We must listen to His voice and instruction. Simply put! 1 Thess 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Daniel faced treacherous plotting and an attempt to destroy Him by His colleagues at work (other senior officials within the government). However moving in the fear of God, he trusted God to deliver Him and maintained his posture of consistent prayer.The result? The mouth of lions was shut and Daniel was delivered. 

While we don’t face real animal lions, we often deal with human lions. Trust God to deliver to the utmost!!  You see, Daniel wasn’t just delivered but the King recognized that the God he served and His Kingdom was superior and more powerful than all other Kingdoms! Powerful testimony and ultimately what God wants!

So, what are some challenges you’ve faced or are currently facing at work? How have you seen the fear of God and His wisdom on display in the situation? Leave us a message and let us know! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

By Carol Jackson

His Prescribed Path

1484317321298_imageJesus said:
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt 11:29-30)

Compared to the old testament law, the new covenant in Christ was easy. He asked us to do away with following the law that lead to death and to follow Him to eternal life.

In this new covenant we have:

  • grace (Yes!!!)
  • forgiveness of sins
  • no condemnation
  • adoption as sons (and daughters)
  • freedom from bondage
  • joy instead of mourning,
  • healing and restoration of our souls
  • an intimate relationship with God the father
  • the knowledge that He chose us from the earth’s founding
  • redemption because Christ shed His blood
  • faith in the almighty God and access to all His promises
  • healing through His suffering
  • freedom to come boldly before His throne of grace and mercy

And so much more. It’s definitely not an exhaustive list.

What I had to realise for myself, is that even though His promises are freely given, there is still a yoke that I have to choose to take. Even though the yoke is easy, it’s still a yoke. It will, once I surrender, provide direction, restrict what I can and cannot do, require my obedience and cooperation, lead me in a preordained path and lead me away from my previous life. With it, God can pull me away from danger and cause me to learn His ways and grow.

How does this look in everyday life?

  • Adherence to His word
  • Being silent when we would want to speak
  • Putting others before ourselves
  • Being open to His correction and discipline
  • Loving when we would rather not
  • Forgiving when someone has wronged you, hurt you and disregarded you; whether intentionally or unintentionally
  • Choosing not to live by the standards of the world but making sure Jesus is at the center of all our decisions
  • Waiting when we would rather go and listening even when we think we know the answer
  • Relying on faith when all we see before us is unknown, scary looking stuff
  • Holding onto His promises knowing that His word will never change

This list is also not exhaustive.

When we make the decision to put our lives in His hands, we can’t take it back when it suits us or ignore the things we don’t like and accept the things which we do like. God will not force His yoke on us but He encourages us to take it.

Picture Him with the yoke in His out stretched hand, saying “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Then he tells us about Himself, “I am gentle and lowly in heart.” Not a harsh task master. Then comes His promise to us, “You will find rest for your souls.” A place of total surrender and peace. Our future is assured.

Thank you Lord that You determine my path and the stages and seasons of my life.  Thank you that in You I am home and experience overwhelming peace. You have been my guide and my teacher and I desire to be continually shaped and moulded by You. Thank you for joy that bubbles up when I consider Your ways and the rest that comes from knowing that You are in charge. May all that You have given me cause me to give back to others and to showcase Your amazing love. In the name of Jesus, amen.

By Marisse Cropper

 

New Year’s…….

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and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.             Ephesians 4:24

 

 

Well, it’s 2017.

Already.

I can still remember the fuss over Y2K. When everything was going to shut down and there would be blackouts and planes would fall from the sky. That, was 17 years ago.  So much has happened in that 17 years and yet it seems as though so little time has passed.

First of all, I would like to express how grateful I am to our one and only magnificent God, for being His ever faithful consistent self.  All the ups and downs have all led right back to Him cause He never moves. When He says that He will never leave or forsake, He means it. It is His promise and it will stand.

Yet, we shift and move and determine that we know what’s right and that whatever we thought, was a good idea that we had to try. I don’t know about you but I imagine that God frequently looks at me and shakes His head, maybe exasperated but patiently waiting for me to see what He was showing me all along.

We also make these determinations. “I will be better at this” or ” I need to do more of that”. Is that so? Have you asked God His opinion on that?

All around us, are people making their lists of resolutions. ” This is the year.”, they say. “It will be different this time.” We celebrate with those who make it but often times most don’t.

Why? Because,

True transformation is based on association. Not behaviour modification. Dave Cropper

As members of the body of Christ, we do not try to be perfect after the flesh; to seek a perfection brought on by the standards of those around us. It’s not about doing what seems right but doing what God wants for us. It’s about seeking His face for the way that He knows is right. Our change, our transformation comes when we are in Him and when we rely on His grace. Not our limited human effort.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.                              2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) (emphasis mine)

Change does not come from afar or by a wish and a hope. We have to be in Him and with Him. Constantly. Daily. Leading to all things becoming new. That is a truth of God. Believe it. Hold on to it.

What we build by ourselves and with our own plans, will fail.

Let go of our ways and our thoughts and what we think is right.

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.     Psalm 127:1 (NKJV)

Unless God is the midst of every part of our lives, we act in vain. Why waste energy doing the wrong thing? Discovering the right way requires us to ask, seek and knock.

 

Lord, I know that you have a plan made specifically for me and You know what must be done to achieve it. Show me the direction which you choose and what I must do. Thank you for Your patient guidance and everlasting grace.  I will trust in you and follow your way for me because only in you am I made new. In the name of Jesus, amen.

By Marisse Cropper