Friends, God is good. Always.
He is always working things out even when we are hurting, when we feel nothing but pain and frustration, when we feel like He has left us alone–He is still working, and He is still right there with us. He never leaves us!
God has been doing so much in my life lately. I am a student at California Baptist University, and I just started my second semester. In the fall, my first semester, I was distracted. One thing in my life consistently threw me off and made me resist any opportunities that came my way. I was blinded to what was happening in my because I did not believe anything outside of normal was occurring. After 3 months of living a distracted life, God removed the distraction from my life.
Friends, I will not lie, it hurt when He removed this thing that was drawing my attention. Yes, I tried resisting it, and did a fine job at that in the beginning. But Jesus quickly showed me that He will make things in my life work for the purpose He has for me. Part of His purpose was to stay focused and jump at opportunities rather than sit back and think everything is okay.
I was distracted, and now am not.
I have not seen this clear in a very long time. It is all because God chose the right time to work things out in my life!
Ever feel like things in your life just are not working out? You try and you try, but it always seems like you make things worse and worse? You ever feel like you should do something, anything, but are not sure what?
Fear not, friends. Surrender to Him. It is the best decision you will ever make for yourself!
In the last few weeks, I have been listening to David Hocking’s radio series on KWVE 107.9 FM where he is currently studying and dissecting the book of James. I think James is one of the most revered books in the Bible, but I also think it is a book that a lot of people misinterpret. But since I have been listening to these messages everyday, they have changed my life and my heart.
God has been using these sermons and His word to speak so clearly to my heart. He is showing me what He wants me to stay focused on. he is showing me how He wants to shape and mold me to fit into His plans for my life.
How awesome a God He is, to make a plan for my life that I have to constantly grow into! That seems pretty awesome to me!
Since these sermons have begun to change me, I look back in retrospect on last semester and realize that it was a gift Jesus gave to me when He removed the distractions from my life. Going through James has shown me that the best thing I can do for myself is to have confidence in my faith in Christ.
Two things I have really learned from David Hocking’s teachings of James is the importance of being humble and the importance of controlling your language.
In James 4:1-10 talks about humbling yourself. But before it talks about humbling yourself, it talks about how we first need to realize that we are sinful people and we all fall short. James basically calls all of us hopeless people because we have evil desires and thoughts in our hearts and minds. These desires give us the wrong motivations for things we want, things we think we need. And realizing that we all have this evil nature is the first step. The second step is to realize that “God resists the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.” He gives more abundantly than anyone on Earth could ever give to us. The things He gives abundantly include His love and forgiveness. The third step in this process is offering yourself to God, telling Him that you know you need His help, and you will do everything you can to humble yourself.
In the process of humbling ourselves, we realize that we may be welcoming hurt into our lives. Humbling yourself means you are telling that you are willing and ready to go down to the lowest level you can go to in order to see God bring you back up again. Yes, it can be very painful. But sometimes humbling yourself is the only way to truly get your heart right with God.
In James 3:1-12, the author details how we should treat others, notably our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we think about things, we can clearly see that many people do not want to get saved and identify with Christians because of the poor way we treat each other. They look at our attitudes and our mean spirits and say to themselves, “If they cannot even be kind to one another, why would I want to be a part of their family?” That is exactly the problem James was trying to address in his letter.
James 3:9-12 says this:
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
In other words, if we say we are Christians, then we should act as Christians. But even more than that, we need to be kind to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, we are human and get angry and we hurt, and sometimes we hurt others. And I believe when you have a problem with a brother or sister then you go and you talk to them about it (Matthew 18). you do not turn around and slander that person. You forgive. You humble yourself.
Since I am learning these two new and wondrous things, my life is changing. It is expanding. I am growing. I realize I will never perfect these lessons. I may struggle with them all my life. But I have humbled myself and trusting that God has everything under control.
New things are happening in my life. I believe the causes of this change is a combination of God removing distractions from my life, and showing me David Hocking’s sermons and teachings about James.
I highly recommend these sermons to everyone! No matter what you all might be going through, it will help!
Here is the link: http://www.davidhocking.org/radio-archive.php
Friends, God has a plan for everything. I know it is sometimes very hard to believe, and sometimes it is a fact that blows our minds and makes us praise Him all the more. But no matter what end of the spectrum you find yourselves on right now, remember this: Jesus loves you, and gives grace more abundantly. AND…He always has a plan He is working out for you!