What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. —James 4:1-10
Here’s another devotional written by my wonderful friend, Patricia Knight. I know you’ll appreciate this one as much as I do!
By Patricia Knight
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” —2 Corinthians 12:9, NAS
At the end of his life and his remarkable career, the apostle Paul turned his responsibilities over to Timothy, his friend and co-worker for Christ. Paul expressed self-satisfaction with serving God and promoting His Gospel; he had totally depended on his Lord’s leadership and power. He carried God’s love throughout most parts of the known world, on four missionary journeys. Paul’s ministry work for His Lord was impeccable.
After being stripped and beaten, then thrown in a dark, dank jail where his feet were secured in stocks as an added measure of security, Paul gave thanks and sang hymns. From inside another jail he wrote letters to encourage fellow Christians, the same Gospel letters that minister to us today in God’s Word.
Paul asked God repeatedly to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” a particularly burdensome physical problem. Instead of curing Paul, God answered that He would convert Paul’s weakness to His sovereign strength. We do not know to what extent Paul’s physical problem interfered with his endurance, but we are aware that Paul remained steadfast in his faith and service to His Lord, daily buoyed and empowered by God’s strength. Paul was determined to boast about his own weaknesses so that Christ’s power could be glorified in his life. Today, God is faithful to convert our weakness into His strength, just as He did for Paul centuries ago.
Humble obedience is God’s intent for us. Whatever our plight in this life, we are commanded to enthusiastically accomplish God’s work. Using our unique abilities, God delights in custom designing a personal service plan for everyone who loves Him.
“Few Christians finish well” is a haunting prediction. Let us not allow that warning to come to fruition in our lives. By maintaining tenacity of faith and service to God throughout our lives, in the end, like Paul, we can claim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Though Paul readily identified God as his Source of strength, he also persevered during hardship, allowing God’s power to burst through his circumstances.
Our gift of eternal life is secured by grace, not by works. As a result, our good deeds for God and our fellow men spill over as a natural outpouring of our faith. “Faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). Paul knew that truth and so do we. Why not practice with discipline that which we know to be true, and finish our life well, with a remarkable career for Christ?
Thank you again, Pat! What a blessing you are in my life!
Back in 2006, a few of my devotionals were published in an anthology titled Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. This is one of those devotionals.
When I want to thank God for His grace . . .
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. —John 1:16-17, NRSV
Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. —2 Corinthians 4:16, MSG
The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. —2 Corinthians 13:15, MSG
If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely. —2 Thessalonians 1:12, MSG
. . . I will pray.
Most Compassionate God,
Where would I be without Your grace—full and free and wonderful? It picks up in the very spot where I leave off, tucker out, and finishes the job for me. When I’m too frail to do the right thing, Your grace gives me the boost I need to finish in the winner’s circle. When I find it impossible to forgive, to believe, to go on, Your grace shows me a way where there is no way. Your grace is more than amazing—it’s astonishing!
Lord, I want to thank You for Your grace. I heard somewhere that it stands for God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I’ll never understand it, giving me so much when I’m so completely undeserving. I guess it’s pretty hard to explain.
Help me, Father, to find ways to pass along the message of Your grace to my friends and family. Some of them don’t know how much You love them. They’ve never experienced Your grace—even though it has always been there, poured out for them just as it was for me. Don’t let me miss even one opportunity, Lord, to pass on to others Your riches, purchased by Your precious Son.
Grace comes into the soul, as the morning son into the world; first a dawning, then a light; and at last the sun in his full and excellent brightness. —Thomas Adams
[From Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. Copyright © 2006 Bordon-Winters LLC]
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. —Revelation 1:4-6
~This is the fifth part of the series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Last Thursday Donna left us with several thought-provoking questions:
Am I teaching others God’s Word?
Am I modeling His Word as He did to His disciples?
Can my children and grandchildren look at my life and see the reflection of His Word at work in my life?
Or am I hiding in a corner shrinking back in fear or disappointment at how my life has unraveled?
Jesus knew Judas was betraying Him. He didn’t cast aspersions on Judas nor rail against him. Scripture says that Jesus washed his feet too. It would seem He gave Judas every chance to repent.
Am I doing that when others disappoint me? Or am I willing to forgive and “wash their feet” as Jesus did Judas’ feet?
When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.
There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.
It is my understanding that at a Jewish Passover a morsel was given to an honored guest, but to be certain I looked for verification. Below is an excerpt from a study I found on the internet written by Keith Krell:
In [John] 13:26, we have one of the most beautiful verses in the New Testament. John writes, “Jesus then answered, ‘That [the one who will betray Me] is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.’ So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.”
In the culture of Jesus’ time, to take a morsel from the table, dip it in the common dish, and offer it to someone else was a gesture of special friendship.Interestingly, Judas must have sat near enough to Jesus for Jesus to do this conveniently (cf. Matt 26:25). Possibly, Judas reclined to Jesus’ immediate left. If he did, this would have put him in the place of the honored guest immediately to the host’s left.
Regardless, the morsel Jesus prepares for Judas was a piece of the Passover lamb wrapped in flour and rolled together. It would be dipped in sauce made of bitter herbs and eaten. Why did Jesus prepare a morsel and offer it to Judas?
In the greatest act of grace ever recorded, Jesus offers Judas one more chance. Jesus offers Judas a piece of the sacrificial lamb. Jesus, the Lamb of God to be sacrificed to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29), is offering Judas Himself. He is saying, “Judas, here I am. Do you want Me?”
Wow! Doesn’t it just stab at your heart? Don’t you know how it must have grieved Jesus?
This was the point of no return for Judas. In my opinion, until he took the piece of the Passover lamb from the hand of Jesus—the Lamb of God—he could have been saved. He chose not to be.
In the next sentence, verse 27, we see Jesus accept the evil of the heart of man and tell Judas “what you do, do quickly”.