Fresh Manna © by Pastor Tim Burt
James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
What do you think of when you hear the term lip service? I think of words expressed without the conviction to back them up. God does not give lip service. He is not about lip service. Who is about lip service? Fools – those that think they are smarter than God. From the Message translation Proverbs 26:16 says, “Dreamers fantasize their self-importance; they think they are smarter than a whole college faculty.” Proverbs 14:18 says, “Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion; wise realists plant their feet on the ground.”
We don’t want to be people of lip service or just dreamers. As Christians we want to be people of conviction. We know what we believe because we see it in God’s Word and we live it because we believe it. We also don’t want to be hearers of what God says without being doers of what God says. Today’s Fresh Manna verse says that this kind of person deceives himself. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
We also don’t want to be lazy! The lazy person is in the same class with the person that hears but doesn’t do and the person who is strictly lip service. Proverbs 12:24 says, “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work. Proverbs 12:27 says, “A lazy life is an empty life, but “early to rise” gets the job done. Proverbs 15:19 says, “The path of lazy people is overgrown with briers; the diligent walk down a smooth road.”
God doesn’t want us lazy, full of lip service, or someone who just hears about God but doesn’t align his/her life with the Word of God. God wants us to give our lives to Jesus, learn to open our hearts to the Word of God so the Holy Spirit can teach and train us how to think and live, and then touch others with His love even as we ourselves are being transformed by Him.
He wants us to learn to be diligent, committed, and a doer of His Word. He wants us to find a good church that teaches the Bible. He wants us to help be an asset to that churches success knowing it will change and help us as much as we help it.
God wants us to bring our tithes and offerings to the storehouse (your church) and leave them at the altar. Trust the Pastor with them and if you can’t, find a church where you can. Give your tithes to where you get spiritually fed!
When you have done all these things, you will still be far from perfect. You will be a person under progress and development by the Holy Spirit of God. That is awesome! You are right where God can bless you. You sincere love for God and sincere effort to live for Him coupled with the promise of His Word has positioned you to receive great blessing at God’s hand – IF YOU WILL BELIEVE FOR IT BY FAITH! The effort of exercising your faith needs to be as strong as the effort of your daily diligence in what you put your hand to! Why?
When God first brought His promise to the children of Israel to take them from Egypt into the Promised Land, He expected them to trust in His love and in doing so, He promised to bless them. He promised to take them into a land of milk and honey – a land rich with every kind of blessing imaginable. He also warned them there would be enemies presently living their but that He would drive them out before them IF they would have faith in Him and do their part. (Diligent people do. Lazy and deceived people don’t.)
He also told them something that was shocking, sobering, and probably a little painful to hear. He told them that He was going to bless them for two reasons. First because the people he was driving out of the land were wicked. Secondly, because He had made a promise to Abraham and his offspring to do so. But then He told them the sobering part. He wasn’t doing this for them because they were so righteous or perfect. He told them that frankly, they were somewhat stubborn and stiff-necked. In other words, He would bless them even though they weren’t perfect but a people under progress just like you and me. That IS His heart toward us. He wants to bless us despite ourselves. Read it for yourselves.
Deut. 9:1-6 “Hear, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to occupy the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! They are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. (Goliath was an Anakite.) You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But the Lord your God will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised. “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say to yourselves, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are so righteous!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is doing it. It is not at all because you are such righteous, upright people that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he had sworn to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will say it again: The Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.”
God wants you to do your part. He also wants to bless you despite your shortcomings and the development He needs to do in you. God wants you to exercise faith in the fact that He wants to bless you. Then you will be blessed and when you are, there is something else important to remember. I’ll tell you next time….
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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