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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 6

Image result for images of the unruly tongue

Ahhh. Here it is, the teaching about the power of our tongues. The smallest member of our body, yet it holds the greatest power to hurt or to help. It is indeed the most difficult to control, and can only get harder as we get older if we are not growing in our walk with the Lord. If we think about it, we will come to the conclusion that pride is most often the instigator of an unruly tongue.

And words on getting wisdom from the Heavenly Father. If we seek and take hold of that wisdom, will it not strengthen us to have better control of our tongues?

James 3

1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Matthew Henry explains verses 13-18 very well:

These verses show the difference between men’s pretending to be wise, and their being really so. He who thinks well, or he who talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if he does not live and act well. True wisdom may be known by the meekness of the spirit and temper. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion; and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such wisdom comes not down from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts on earthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes. Those who are lifted up with such wisdom, described by the apostle James, is near to the Christian love, described by the apostle Paul; and both are so described that every man may fully prove the reality of his attainments in them. It has no disguise or deceit. It cannot fall in with those managements the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere, and open, and steady, and uniform, and consistent with itself. May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercy shown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousness abounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us this excellent gift.

13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Phoebe – A Significant Servant

Romans 16:1-2 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.”

Phoebe, here spelled “Phebe,” was a Gentile Christian from the port city of Cenchrea. Her name, derived from Greek mythology, means “pure” or “radiant as the moon.” Paul described Phoebe as a “servant” (Greek-diakonon) and “helper” (Greek-prostatis). She may have been a patron of some sort.

In Greek cities, rulers routinely appointed patrons to look after the interests of foreigners. Therefore, Phoebe may have functioned in an official capacity to protect the rights and meet the needs of Cenchrea’s numerous foreign visitors and resident Jews. She was obviously a person of significance who used her wealth and influence in the service of the Christians there.

On this occasion, Phoebe had traveled to Rome, possibly on a business trip. Paul, knowing that she would pass through Corinth, took the opportunity to write to the Roman Christians. This letter commended Phoebe, its bearer, to the church in Rome. Paul knew that the Roman Christians would be able to provide Phoebe with hospitality and fellowship, as well as with advice on the state of Roman politics and law.

Paul spoke highly of Phoebe. He introduced her to the Roman Christians as “sister, “servant,” “saint,” and “succourer.” Though the word here translated “servant,” it also transliterated as “deacon,” note both generic and technical usages of the word. The Greek root means literally “one who ministers or serves.” Of course, taken in that sense, the word describes not only Phoebe and other “deaconesses” in the early church, but also countless women who have given and do give themselves untiringly to the work of the Kingdom through ministries within the local church.

However, the word is also used by some in a technical sense to describe a functional ecclesiastical office such as assigned to Stephen – Acts 6: 1-7 “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” This office was created to equip a corps of Godly saints to meet physical and social needs so that the apostles would not be pulled away from the primary ministry of the Word – Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Phoebe and other women like her ministered where needed, they did not “preach” God’s Word as the men did. They did work that freed the men to accomplish God’s spiritual work. Women are blessed with great help-meet skills as I believe God intended.

Certainly, in the New Testament sense of deacon or deaconess, women can find ample opportunity for service with or without an official title. On the other hand, if deacon or deaconess is considered a position of official spiritual leadership, there are other passages for consideration – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” And, 1 Timothy 3:8-13 ” Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

In any case, Paul noted that Phoebe was a highly capable Greek woman of significant social status, and apparently through the Gospel, she had also overcome the pagan origins of her name to gain status–in Paul’s eyes–as a pure and radiant light for Jesus.

Phoebe was blessed with much, and after her conversion to a born-again child of God, she used her means to further God’s Kingdom!

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

Proverbs 31:30

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Godly Women

 

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Creation of the First Woman

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The first time the word woman appears in the Bible is when God created Eve from Adam’s rib or side. The Hebrew word for this usage of woman is nashiym (naw-sheem), “because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). The stress is on identification of womanhood.

God’s word tells us that he created the earth and the heavens and everything in them in seven days. It was on the 6th day that he created mankind. Genesis 1:26, 27 – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

We see that God made both man and woman in his image. One was not any more the image of God than the other. Neither sex was of more or lesser value to God. He fashioned and prepared us for various tasks, but his purpose was for us to live with the same intent: to honor God. Though one of us is not superior to the other, each of our genders has its own exclusive privileges.

In Genesis 2:18 God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone; he was incomplete. “I will make him an help meet for him.” So God formed all of the beasts of the field and the birds in the air and gave them to Adam to see what names he would give them. But there was no help meet found for him among all of those.

God put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs and made a woman and brought her to him. The Hebrew word for rib used here is the feminine tsalah (tsal-aw). Literally it means a rib, as curved, of the body; or figuratively, a side or chamber of a person. Wow! It makes me think of woman actually being taken out of a chamber in man’s side. That helps me to understand why it is a God-given instinct for a man to take his woman under his wing to care for and protect her. It also explains why we women have a deep desire for our knight in shining armor to ride in, whisk us off our feet and devote his life to us. I believe that deep down inside, every woman wants her husband to step up and be the Godly leader that God created him to be. I know that I find that very comforting.

God could have made Eve from dust as he did Adam, but he chose to create her from the man’s flesh and bone. This symbolizes how a man’s and a woman’s hearts and lives are mysteriously joined together in marriage. We can see throughout God’s word that he takes this union very seriously.

A good question to ask ourselves before marrying is : “Are we willing to keep the commitment which makes the two of us one? The ultimate goal in marriage is more than friendship; it is oneness.

Side Note: God did not create man out of man nor woman out of woman that they would be godly joined in union as one. His word clearly states that he made woman from the side of man. The natural union of man and woman in marriage is a sacred blessing from God.

Homosexuality: to “change” or “leave the natural use of” sex

For those who live a homosexual lifestyle and try to justify it by pointing to God’s love and grace, I say, examine yourselves as to whether you are truly a born-again child of God, or ask yourselves if you are being led astray by Satan’s deceivers. Some are choosing to be deceived by so-called preachers (some who are homosexuals themselves) who teach that they cannot help being the way they are. Many believe and teach that their desires are normal and that they have a right to express them. God does not encourage us to fulfill all of our desires, as they are not all good desires. We must restrain those desires that violate his laws. Satan’s liars do not set the standard for God’s Law, and they will answer to God for it.

Yes, God does love the sinner, but he does hate the sin. He is willing to receive anyone who comes to him in faith, and as Christians, we should always love and accept others, but not their sin. We are not to stand in judgment, but to use good judgment when it comes to tolerating what God looks upon as sin.

Homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” The Hebrew word here for abomination as referenced to God (because this act is an abomination in God’s eyes) is toebah (to-ay-baw) – and it describes people, things, acts, relationships, and characteristics that are detestable to Him because they are contrary to His nature.

Can a saved person live the life of a homosexual? I have pondered that question much because I know and love some who live that lifestyle and say that they are saved. Only God knows that for sure. Saved people are sinners and we will be until we be with our Lord. We are to live day by day in God’s grace, repenting for sins that our natural flesh is tempted to. Repenting means turning away from.

I would venture to say that if they are saved, they are ignoring the roots of whatever issues they have in their pasts that may have led them to this lifestyle. I would also submit, that if they were totally honest with themselves, they would admit that they do not have God’s peace that passes understanding in their spirits.

To those who have homosexual desires: You can and must resist acting upon them. As with temptation to any sin, you must consciously stay away from places and behaviors that you know will spark these temptations. Do not underestimate Satan’s power and goal to lead you astray. Also, I beg you to consider the risk you take for serious harm if you keep giving in to these temptations.

If you are saved and living a homosexual lifestyle: Do not forget that God will forgive sexual sins the same as he forgives other sins. The key is to completely surrender yourselves to the grace and mercy of God, and ask him to show you the way out of sin and into the light of his liberty and love. Immerse yourselves in prayer, Bible study, and the loving support of Christians in a Bible-believing church that does not water down God’s word to make you feel better about your sin. Those actions will help you to gain the strength that you need to resist those powerful temptations. You may even need to seek the help of a trustworthy and professional true, Christian counselor. Christian meaning living a Christ-filled, Christ-like lifestyle.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in God's Love

 

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