November 17

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“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15 NKJV).

From: November 17, 2017

The Greek word translated “desire” is epithumia, which literally means over-heated desire or lust. Desire in and of itself is not evil. God has desires. But God’s desires are under His control, while ours are not. We desire over-much and we become over-heated in wanting, so we take shortcuts and we overeat and we overindulge and we over-do-it in getting things, but our over-desire cannot be fully satisfied because it wants over-much. James is graphic in describing this over-desire as a womb conceiving and giving birth to sin. And sin, as a growing thing that when mature “brings forth death.”
 
God has given us “every good gift” (James 1:17), yet we desire the gift over the Giver. However, when we receive the “word of truth” (James 1:18), which is the gospel, we are born again of the Spirit of God. And His Spirit gives us His desires and grants us self-control over our “over-desires.” Being born again, we begin to desire the Giver more than the gift.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2 NKJV)

From: November 17, 2015

James describes the spiritual mindset that the Christian should have when facing trials. What is this mindset? “All joy.” Not happiness, which is based on external happenings, but joy, which comes from within and is the fruit of the Spirit for the believer that abides in Christ. And not partial joy, but “all” joy. Pure and whole joy that comes from the knowledge that God is sovereign and that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom.8:28). This mindset is a choice of the will, one that can be “counted.” The Greek verb here is in the imperative middle voice, meaning that one is to command oneself to choose joy. Like an accounting term, one can choose to move their emotional response to trials from the sad column to the glad column. Rather than seeing trials as a reason to be discouraged, count them as a reason to trust God all the more.

“Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds” (Proverbs 27:23 NLT)

From: November 17, 2014

This proverb encourages us to be responsible stewards of all that God has given us. This begins with knowing the state of your “flocks.” What are your “flocks?” Another way to ask this question would be to say, “What has God entrusted to you to manage?” Do you know the state of your finances? Do you have a budget and do you know how much you spend monthly? Are you saving for emergencies, retirement, college…? What is the state of your marriage? What is the state of your children? If you are a pastor, the state of your flock is relevant. If you are in business, do you know the condition of your store and its bottom line? Many of us go through life with a blind eye towards our “flocks.” But God would have us open our eyes and “know the state” of that which He has entrusted to us.

“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

From: November 17, 2012

God’s promise to Israel after it fell to Babylon. He promised them a spiritual heart transplant. This is fulfilled in Christ. We no longer have laws written on stone tablets, but Christ’s love written on our hearts. This is the prophecy of the New Covenant, which is ours in Christ.

“I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36)

From: November 17, 2011

We have good intentions when we speak. We say ‘I’ll get around to it’ or ‘I hope to do it.’ But God does what He says. His Word is written for us to see. His Word will not return void. Do you depend on God’s Word? On what promise do you lean? Believe and do not doubt. God does what He says.