Daily Archives: March 26, 2020

March 26th The D. L. Moody Year Book

He shall glorify Me: for he shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.—John 16:14.

THE world can get on very well without you and me, but the world cannot get on without Christ, and therefore we must testify of Him.

The world to-day is just hungering and thirsting for this divine, satisfying portion. Thousands and thousands are sitting in darkness, knowing not of this great Light, but when we begin to preach Christ honestly, faithfully, sincerely and truthfully; holding Him up, not ourselves; exalting Christ, and not our theories; presenting Christ, and not our opinions; advocating Christ, and not some false doctrine; then the Holy Ghost will come and bear witness. He will testify that what we say is true.[1]

 

[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 63). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

March—26 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.—Exodus 3:13, 14.

My soul! hast thou fully considered, so as to rest in the full assurance of faith upon it, on what the whole foundation of covenant promises and engagements rests It is not the greatness “of the promise, no, nor the greatness of the deliverance wrought out for poor sinners, by the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, on which faith founds its claim—for, in fact, the more astonishing, and great, and unexpected the mercy is, as in the case of redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, the more difficult would it be for a poor self-condemned sinner to trust in it, with full assurance of faith—but the great foundation for thee, and for every poor sinner to ground his hopes of redemption by Jesus Christ upon, is the faithfulness of that God which cannot lie, having promised. Hence it appears, as in the beautiful instance this precious scripture records. The Lord was going to send Moses, as his minister, to bring out his people Israel from Egyptian bondage; Moses desires the Lord to give him the commission with his name; hence, by the way, we may learn, that they who stand up in the Lord’s name, ought themselves to know who the Lord is, and from a proper acquaintance with the Lord, to recommend him to those among whom they proclaim him, as one they themselves know, and trust in. To the inquiry of Moses, concerning as to what name he should hold him forth to his people, the Lord condescends to give this answer: I AM THAT I AM: intimating the self-existence, the eternity, and faithfulness of JEHOVAH. As if God had said, I AM, and therefore, by virtue of this underived being which I possess in myself, I give being to all my promises. My soul! often call to remembrance this grand and glorious truth. Thou hast not only the perfect and covenant redemption of thy Christ’s blood and righteousness to confide in; but thou hast this other pillar and ground of the truth to confirm thy faith: I AM hath engaged for it also. So that both the blessedness of the promise, and the faithfulness of the almighty Promiser, are with thee. Plead both before the throne; for Jehovah will ever be mindful of, glory in, and prove faithful to, all his covenant promises in Christ, to a thousand generations. Hallelujah! Amen.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 90–91). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

March 26, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

5 In v. 4, James has just provided a portrait of fully developed Christian character. The fully mature believer is one who is “lacking in nothing.” Yet alas, most of us are still on the path, not having arrived at that level of maturity. Therefore, James makes a transition to this next passage by pointing to a possible need among his readers: “If any of you lacks wisdom …” It is vital to grasp what James means by “wisdom.” Wisdom here connotes an understanding of the ways of God and a readiness to act according to those ways. This close connection between wisdom and righteousness can be seen in James 3:13–18:

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Thus, true wisdom issues forth in living according to the ways of the Lord, and if anyone lacks this understanding of and commitment to the ways of God, God himself—wisdom’s true and only source who gives “to all”—may be approached. In other words, God has shown himself to have issued an open invitation to people to come and find in him the wisdom they need to approach life righteously. This thought echoes Wisdom passages in Proverbs, such as the following (Pr 2:1–7):

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

Furthermore, James expresses the manner in which God gives wisdom as “generously” and “without finding fault.” The first suggests that God is not stingy with wisdom but rather eager to provide guidance for how life should be approached. That he gives “without finding fault” means he does not insult or put down those who come to him with their deficiency. Unlike the father who slaps the hand of a child reaching up for a desired item, God eagerly gives wisdom to the person desiring his perspective on life.[1]


5 Whatever the doubtful meaning of Gen. 2:17 and 3:22 may be, it is clear that in the antecedents of the cult of Yahweh knowledge is often a jealously monopolized attribute of divinity: in later Hebrew religion, however, the bond of wisdom between God and his believers plays a part analogous to that of faith in Christianity. Sometimes “Wisdom means Law (Torah),” says an old commentary on Ps. 99:4 (Midr. Ps. on 99:4). This Wisdom/Law was needed for defeating the wiles of the Evil Spirit in man; but wisdom is a gift, from on high, which cannot be bought by man; its sole source is God: so OT Wisdom literature, Philo, and the rabbis. “Blessed be Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast imparted of Thy wisdom to flesh and blood.”

In all Christian temptation wisdom is to be had “just for the asking,” a gift here described by James with an adverb etymologically meaning “simply,” a word often used in Greek in contrast to another Greek word connoting complex variety, in nature or art, from a patchwork quilt to an elaborate financial fraud. For the mind of such a giver we confess that no single sufficient word occurs to us: “kind,” “generous,” “wholehearted,”29 are neither inapposite nor completely adequate. KJV has “liberally” for the Greek here,32 and this suits the equivalent Greek noun as “generosity.” “Liberally” would be the best translation if we could confine it to its ethical signification (Hort, p. 9); as it is, “liberally” smacks too much of “profusely.” “Graciously,” says Hort (against Mayor), “is perhaps the best word for it,” since it recalls the OT ḥesed (Gen. 24:49) and NT “kindness” (Rom. 2:4), i.e., benevolent goodness or grace of God. But even that has unfortunate overtones. We think that of the possible variants, “freely” has the fewest and least defects.

God gives his wisdom to men not only just for the asking but also without chiding a man for his previous sins, many of which the man may not even know he has committed. In this context the paramount function of wisdom is to keep a man from otherwise scarcely avoidable sin; hence we prefer our present explanation to other suggestions, such as that of Ropes (p. 140)—namely, James is thinking of human beings who are apt to keep casting up to a man any good turn they may have done him: see Tyndale, “God casteth no man in his teeth” (Moffatt, p. 12). Bunyan is right: referring to Jas. 1:15, he writes: “It appeareth that He (Christ) is free, because he giveth without twitting” (i.e., “rebuking” or “taunting”). See Ps. 19:12, “Who can be aware each time he offends? O cleanse thou me of my unconscious sins.” Here in vv. 7–11 the psalmist praises the law of the Lord; he then very naturally proceeds to ask pardon for any offenses he may have committed against it, either unconsciously (v. 12) or “presumptuously,” that is at least, “knowingly” (v. 13a): only thus could he hope for remission in both classes of offense (v. 13b). In essence Ps. 19:12f. is a typical Hebrew prayer for wisdom in righteousness, and here in 1:5 James voices the characteristic Jewish faith in God as its source.[2]


1:5 The most prized attribute, we are suggesting, of the messianic community as it faces tests is “wisdom,” and that is why James brings it up in 1:5–8. To anticipate what James will say, “wisdom” is supernatural in origin (3:15), is manifested through deeds of mercy and holiness (3:17), and leads toward a community noted by “peace” (3:18), perhaps the most important virtue/gift James could want for a community tempted by oppression to violence. The supernatural origin is thought of now as James urges the messianic community to ask God for wisdom. This invokes the timeless theme of wisdom from Proverbs (1:1–7 and 2:6–8):

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

For learning about wisdom and instruction,

for understanding words of insight,

for gaining instruction in wise dealing,

righteousness, justice, and equity;

to teach shrewdness to the simple,

knowledge and prudence to the young—

Let the wise also hear and gain in learning,

and the discerning acquire skill,

to understand a proverb and a figure,

the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and instruction.

For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;

he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly,

guarding the paths of justice

and preserving the way of his faithful ones.

And Wisdom 8:21:

But I perceived that I would not possess wisdom unless God gave her to me.

To thus set wisdom in James in context means that we see him more along the lines of Proverbs (e.g., 9:1–6), Sirach (e.g., 4:17), Wisdom (e.g., 6:12–14; 7:15, 23–26; 8–9), and Job and less along the lines drawn at Qumran, where wisdom is esoteric and eschatological revelation. Wisdom is for James, at least in part, what faith is for Paul, what love or life is for John, and what hope is for Peter.88 It is, as Ropes states, “the supreme and divine quality of the soul whereby man knows and practices righteousness.” While I cannot agree completely with the eschatological emphasis of Davids on 1:2–4 or 1:5–8, that the Holy Spirit is involved in the reception of wisdom nonetheless deserves consideration: 1:18 speaks of a “new birth” of sorts that gives rise to a community that practices the will of God, and this thought is not far from a Pauline doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit. When this wisdom dawns on the messianic community, it will see through the tests to the formative influence of the tests.

There is yet more to this sense of “wisdom” in James. It will become clear in this letter that a pressing issue was the hotheaded reactions of some in the messianic community. This occurs first most clearly in 1:19–21, though it is also present in 1:13–15 and perhaps in 1:2–4; it then occurs in full force in 3:13–4:12. In both 1:5–8 and 3:13–18 James is an advocate for “wisdom.” And in both contexts it can be discerned that “wisdom” is more than an intellectual sagaciousness that has the capacity to spin out potent proverbs for specific situations: it is a kind of life that pursues “justice” (1:20), “love” (2:8–11), and “peace” (3:18) along properly moral lines—that is, without resorting to violence or volatile language. To ask for “wisdom” is almost to ask for an ability to “endure” with the ethic of Jesus (justice, love, and peace) when pressure is put on people to live otherwise.

The narrative flow suggests that for James “endurance,” being “mature” (1:4), and having “wisdom” are nearly synonymous: the mature community member is the one that both endures and has wisdom. That both wisdom and maturity manifest themselves in community virtue (cf. 3:13–18 with 1:25 and 3:2) suggests the same conclusion. To come around the circle, then, one might say that the supposed disconnection of themes between 1:2–4 and 1:5–8 may in fact be a connection. An identical synonymity is found in 1 Corinthians 2:6 and Colossians 1:28:

Yet among the mature (teleios) we do speak wisdom (sophia).

… teaching everyone in all wisdom (sophia), so that we may present everyone mature (teleios) in Christ.

And in Wisdom 9:6 we see “mature” (or “perfect”) transcended by “wisdom”:

for even one who is perfect (teleios) among human beings will be regarded as nothing without the wisdom (sophia) that comes from you.

The evidence then is solid enough to permit an interpretation that finds the “wisdom” of 1:5–8 to be the same goal that James has in mind with “mature” in 1:2–4.

Those who want to pursue the path of perfection discover their need and are told to “ask God.”93 Request is an inherent attribute of prayer in the Bible, and includes noteworthy examples in Abraham interceding for Sodom (Genesis 19), David praying for his child with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:16–23) and for forgiveness (Psalm 51), and Solomon’s global prayer for wisdom (1 Kgs 3:1–14; 2 Chron 1:7–13). And the reason the messianic Jewish community is to “ask” is that God is the one “who gives.” James continues that, if you ask, “it will be given you.”

For James, prayer is rooted in theology proper: God is “generous” or, as we will now argue, gives “singlemindedly.” God is ready to give because he “gives to all generously and ungrudgingly.” As Ralph Martin has put it: prayer is “universal (God gives to all who petition him), it is beneficent, it is without regard to merit, and it is a response with no equivocations.”96 Prayer that is confident (cf. 5:15–16) receives what it asks because of who God is.

Behind “generously” is a debate: does the adverb haplōs mean “generously” (NRSV) or “simply” (BDAG)? The word occurs only here in the New Testament, but two cognates, the adjective haplous and the noun haplotēs, occur ten times and can mean either “generous/generosity” or “simply/simplicity, (with) singleness of intention or integrity.” The noun clearly means “generosity” in Rom 12:8 and 2 Cor 8:2; 9:11, 13, but elsewhere “simplicity” or “with integrity” seems more likely (2 Cor 1:12; 11:3; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22). Because James is connected to the teachings of Jesus, one needs to bring the use of the adjective in Matt 6:22 par. Luke 11:34 into account, and there the sense of “single-minded” is clear. When one factors in the wisdom literature of the LXX (e.g., Prov 10:9; Wis 1:1–2), the balance shifts toward James 1:5 saying that God gives with “simplicity” or “integrity” or “single-mindedness.” And, since James will quickly speak of the “double-minded” doubter, it is quite possible that the single-mindedly generous God drawing from the community a single-minded trust is in view (cf. 1:6–8).

So if someone asks of God in faith, God responds simply, with integrity, and with the single-minded intent of answering that request. Or, as James goes on to say negatively, “ungrudgingly,” taking haplōs partly as the positive equivalent of mē oneidizontos. Once again, one thinks of the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 7:7–11:

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Or of Jeremiah 29:12–14:

When you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

And of Sirach 20:14–15:

A fool’s gift will profit you nothing,

for he looks for recompense sevenfold.

He gives little and upbraids much;

he opens his mouth like a town crier.

Today he lends and tomorrow he asks it back;

such a one is hateful to God and humans.

Humans may give grudgingly, either wishing they had not or only because they feel obliged, but God’s grace flows in one direction. There is no backtracking or second-guessing in God, nor is there any criticism or backstabbing after giving.[3]


Trials demand wisdom (v. 5)

It is legitimate to ask God for wisdom in each and every circumstance of life. How often we find ourselves lacking it! But we never need wisdom more urgently than when we are facing difficulties.

First, a word about wisdom. What is it? We must not confuse it with knowledge. Knowledge is information; wisdom is application. Knowledge is comprehending facts; wisdom is handling life. Knowledge is theoretical; wisdom is practical.

We can think of it in terms of driving a car. We can have very good knowledge of a car and not drive very well at all! Conversely, we can have little knowledge of how a car operates and still expertly handle it.

Life is a lot like driving a car. We are tooling along, and suddenly someone darts out in front of us, or a huge pothole appears. In those situations, we must know how to respond in such a way that we are able to preserve our lives and the lives of others.

The trials and difficulties of life are much like the driver who pulls in front of us or the potholes in the road. We are driving along the roadway of life, and suddenly a trial comes. We need wisdom to respond to that trial. We need to know how to respond in such a way that we do not encourage a mistaken notion about what Christianity is. We need to know how to respond in such a way that we do not dishonour God. We need to respond in such a way that we do not discourage our fellow-Christians.

How often Christians drive the car of faith into the ditch when a trial pops up in the road!

Wisdom demands prayer (v. 5)

But how do we find wisdom for the facing of trials? James provides the answer: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God …’

‘If any of you lacks wisdom …’! That includes all of us! No one is sufficient in and of himself to face the trials of life, but the Lord is sufficient for his people.

We are once again face to face with the importance of prayer. How much the Bible makes of it! And how very poor we are at practising it!

Prayer is such a wonderful resource. It connects our poor, feeble little lives with the almighty God. It constructs a pipeline from his sufficiency to our inadequacy.

I do not doubt for a moment that most of us pray when we face trials. The question James puts before us has to do with that for which we are praying.

We pray for the trial to be lifted, and there is nothing wrong with that. But has it occurred to us to pray for wisdom in the trial? Have we asked God to help us handle it in such a way that we bring glory to him and leave a positive impression on those around us?

James attaches a glorious promise to his plea for prayer. He says that God ‘gives to all liberally and without reproach’ (v. 5). To say that God gives ‘liberally’ is to say that God is generous. He is not a miserly God who delights in withholding blessings from his people. John Calvin says the Lord is ready ‘to add new blessings to former ones, without any end or limitation’. Someone has suggested that we should think of God’s liberality in giving in terms of a pitcher always tilted and ready to pour. God’s pitcher of blessing is always tilted to fill the cups of his people.

That phrase ‘without reproach’ means that God gives without finding fault. One of the great things about God is that he knows of what we are made. He knows we are mere dust. He knows how very weak we are. He knows how difficult life is for us. He understands why we struggle so. He does not find fault with us for being what we are.

King David put it wonderfully:

As a father pities his children,

So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.

(Ps. 103:13–14)

So let us be about the business of praying! We often vex ourselves with the matter of why our prayers are not answered. James would have us understand that the unanswered prayer is not our main problem in praying. It is rather the unasked prayer (4:2)![4]


1:5 / James now turns to his second theme and what appears to be a totally new topic, that of wisdom and prayer. It is indeed a major theme of the letter, but it is not unrelated to what goes before. If person hears a call to be perfect, he or she would certainly cry, “Help! Who can do it?” (like Paul’s “Who is sufficient for these things?” 2 Cor. 2:16; 3:5–6). Divine help is necessary, and divine help in James comes in the form of wisdom (cf. 3:13 ff.). Christians should indeed lack nothing, but in order to do this they need divine wisdom.

James shares this recognition. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God. He can do this with full confidence that God gives generously to all. Here James draws on the Jesus tradition (the yet unwritten sayings of Jesus that later formed the Gospels), for Jesus promised God would give his children what they ask (Matt. 7:7–11; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9–13; John 15:7). What better gift could they request than the wisdom needed to withstand the trials they face. God gives it, for God is a good giver; God gives generously, which means that he gives without mental reservations, that he gives simply, with a single heart. He is not looking for some hidden return from believers; he does not have mixed motives or grudging feelings. In fact, he gives not just generously but without finding fault. That is, he does not complain about the gift or its cost. He is not a “fool,” who “has many eyes instead of one. He gives little and upbraids much, he opens his mouth like a herald; today he lends and tomorrow he asks back” (Sirach 20:14–15). No, God gives true gifts: no complaining, no criticizing (What? You need help again?), no mixed motives, no reluctance. Free, generous, even spendthrift giving characterizes the Christian’s God.

And what a gift he gives! He gives wisdom, which in this letter is the equivalent of the Holy Spirit, a gift that James’ readers, as former Jews, would recognize (as the people of the Dead Sea Scrolls did) as one of the gifts of the age to come. Wisdom comes to the Christian through Christ (1 Cor. 1:24; 2:4–6). This surely is what is needed to withstand trials and come to perfection.[5]


1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God. The word “lacks” picks up the mention of “lacking” in 1:4, and so in this context 1:5 instructs the reader to ask God for wisdom for dealing with trials of life, something that even the most mature still need.

What kind of wisdom does James have in mind? James is writing to “the twelve tribes” (1:1) and has peppered his letter with examples of Old Testament people (Rahab, Abraham, Job, Elijah), so the first place to look for examples of God’s wisdom for the trials of life is the narrative portions of the Old Testament. Many Old Testament characters inquire of God seeking guidance from the Lord, something to make sense of what is happening to them or how to best respond. Rebekah asking God why her pregnancy is so difficult (Gen. 25:22), David wanting to know what is causing the famine in Israel (2 Sam. 21:1), and Jeroboam needing wisdom about whether or not his son will live (1 Kings 14:2–3) are a few of the many examples. In addition, perhaps James is thinking of Jesus asking the Father for guidance in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36–46) as to whether there is another way other than the cross, or his own situation from Acts 15 where the early church needed counsel from God to help settle the dispute regarding gentile inclusion.

who gives generously to all without finding fault. James is anticipating the two most likely objections to the idea of asking for wisdom from God. The first objection is that God gives wisdom only to people like Rebekah, David, or James—those who seem special or important in salvation history. But James says, God “gives generously to all.” This is reinforced in chapter 5 when James insists that Elijah is no different than we are—his prayers were answered, and ours will be answered too (5:17–18). The second objection is that God will be angry, annoyed, or disappointed with believers who seek wisdom in the midst of trials. James wants to reassure his readers that this could not possibly be the case (see also Matt. 7:9–11).[6]


5. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James demonstrates the art of writing by linking key words and phrases. In verse 3 he stresses the word perseverance; he puts it last in the sentence to give it emphasis. In verse 4, “perseverance” is the first expression he uses. The last phrase in verse 4 is “not lacking anything”; the first clause of the next phrase repeats this verb, “If any of you lacks wisdom.” The writer knows how to communicate effectively in simple, direct prose.

Note these points:

  • Need

The clause if any of you lacks wisdom is the first part of a factual statement in a conditional sentence. The author is saying to the reader: “I know you will not admit it, but you need wisdom.” James tackles a delicate problem, for no person wants to hear that he is stupid, that he makes mistakes, and that he needs help. By nature man is independent. He wants to solve his own problems and make his own decisions. Eighteenth-century German theologian John Albert Bengel put it rather succinctly: “Patience is more in the power of a good man than wisdom; the former is to be exercised, the latter is to be asked for.” Man has to overcome pride to admit that he needs wisdom. But wisdom is not something he possesses. Wisdom belongs to God, for it is his divine virtue. Anyone who admits the need for wisdom must go to God and ask him. James appeals to the individual reader and hearer. He writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom” (italics added). This approach is tactful, for he could have said, “Everyone lacks wisdom.” But by saying “any of you,” James gives the reader a chance to examine himself, to come to the conclusion that he needs wisdom, and to follow James’s advice to ask God.

  • Request

The believer must ask God for wisdom. James implies that God is the source of wisdom. It belongs to him.

What is wisdom? Both the Old and the New Testaments seek to explain this term. Solomon expresses it in typical Hebraic parallelism. Says he, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). Solomon equates wisdom with knowledge and understanding.

Also, the New Testament states that the Christian receives wisdom and that knowledge comes from God (see, for instance, 1 Cor. 1:30). True, we make a distinction between wisdom and knowledge when we say that knowledge devoid of wisdom is of little value. Observes Donald Guthrie, “If wisdom is the right use of knowledge, perfect wisdom presupposes perfect knowledge.” To become mature and complete, the believer must go to God for wisdom. God is willing to impart wisdom to anyone who asks humbly. God’s storehouse of wisdom is infinite, and he will give this gift “generously to all without finding fault.”

  • Gift

God is not partial. He gives to everyone, no matter who he is, because God wants to give. Giving is a characteristic of God. He keeps on giving. Every time someone comes to him with a request, he opens his treasury and freely distributes wisdom. Just as the sun continues to give light, so God keeps on giving wisdom. We cannot imagine a sun that fails to give light; much less can we think of God failing to give wisdom. God’s gift is free, without interest, and without the request to pay it back. It is gratis.

Moreover, God gives “without finding fault.” When we ask God for wisdom, we need not be afraid that he will express displeasure or will utter reproach. When we come to him in childlike faith, he will never send us away empty. We have the assurance that when we ask for wisdom, it “will be given” to us. God never fails the one who asks in faith.[7]


[1] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 214–215). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Adamson, J. B. (1976). The Epistle of James (pp. 55–57). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] McKnight, S. (2011). The Letter of James (pp. 84–89). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[4] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (pp. 27–29). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[5] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (pp. 28–29). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Samra, J. (2016). James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 7). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 37–38). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

March 26 Streams in the Desert

“Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it. (Gen. 13:14, 15)

NO instinct can be put in you by the Holy Ghost but He purposes to fulfill. Let your faith then rise and soar away and claim all the land you can discover.”—S. A. Keen.

All you can apprehend in the vision of faith is your own. Look as far as you can, for it is all yours. All that you long to be as a Christian, all that you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith. Then come, still closer, and with your Bible before you, and your soul open to all the influences of the Spirit, let your whole being receive the baptism of His presence; and as He opens your understanding to see all His fulness, believe He has it all for you. Accept for yourself all the promises of His word, all the desires He awakens within you, all the possibilities of what you may be as a follower of Jesus. All the land you see is given to you.

The actual provisions of His grace come from the inner vision. He who puts the instinct in the bosom of yonder bird to cross the continent in search of summer sunshine in the Southern clime is too good to deceive it, and just as surely as He has put the instinct in its breast, so has He also put the balmy breezes and the vernal sunshine yonder to meet it when it arrives.

He who breathes into our hearts the heavenly hope, will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization.

Selected.

And they found as he had said unto them.” (Luke 22:13)[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 95–96). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

March 26 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

March 26.—Morning. [Or June 18.]
“Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Joshua 22:1–6; 10–20

THEN Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God. (It is simple justice to give praise wherever it is deserved. There is a notion abroad, that to commend is dangerous, but wise men of old did not think so. While faultfinding is so abundant, it is refreshing to meet with a man who can speak in praise of his fellows. It is not so very common for men to be thoroughly true to their engagements, and when they are so, they ought to have it mentioned to their honour.)

4, 5 And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan. But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Having praised them, Joshua now directs them to their further duty. The terms of his exhortation deserve careful notice. They were to do the commandment—their religion must be practical; they were to love the Lord—their service must be hearty and sincere; they were to walk in all his ways—their obedience must be universal; they were to cleave to him—it must be persevering. Many excellent graces make up a believer’s obedience, and the lack of any one will grievously mar it. Who but the Spirit of God can produce all these good things in fallen man?

So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

10 ¶ And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

Not a wise thing, because not commanded of God, and very liable both to be misunderstood by others, and misused by themselves.

11 ¶ And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel.

12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them. (A departure from God by setting up another altar in opposition to that of the tabernacle was apprehended, and right zealously the loyal spirit of Israel resolved to nip the evil in the bud. Was there not, however, rather too great sharpness of temper in talking so speedily of civil war?)

13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,

14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

We should hear before we judge. Israel did not rush into strife, but sent prudent men to see how the case really stood, and what their brethren had to say.

15 ¶ And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,

16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord, What trepass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the Lord? (Here they stated the case and the cause of their anger. Had their suspicions been correct their anger would have needed no further justification.)

17, 18 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord, But that ye must turn away this day from following the Lord? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the Lord, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel. (They here shew that the sin of apart might bring evil upon the whole community, and therefore they meant to stamp out the evil before it spread further.)

19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the Lord, wherein the Lord’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the Lord, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the Lord our God.

With true generosity they offer them a possession on their own side of Jordan, if their position across the river had driven them into setting up another altar. To enable a man to correct an error without great loss to himself is a great help towards getting him right. The pleading of the tribes with their brethren was very practical, earnest, decided, and generous.

20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity. (This judgment was fresh in their memories, and therefore, they finished their argument with it. They feared that their brethren were about to do very wrong, and to bring upon all Israel much mischief, and therefore they spoke warmly. O that we were all zealous to prevent sin in the family, and in ourselves. God still chastens those he has chosen, and though in this life the wicked may go unpunished, his own children shall not be left without chastisement. Let us walk humbly and jealously before the Lord.)

To God the Father, God the Son,

And God the Spirit, three in one,

Be honour, praise, and glory given

By all on earth, and all in heaven,

 

Our ears have heard, O glorious God,

What work thou did’st of old;

And how the heathen felt thy rod

Our fathers oft have told.

’Twas not thy people’s arm or sword,

But only thy right hand,

Which scatter’d all the race abhorr’d,

And gave thy tribes their land.

In thee alone we make our boasts,

And glory all day long,

Arise at once, thou Lord of hosts,

And fill our mouth with song.

 

Let us, with a gladsome mind,

Praise the Lord, for he is kind:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

He his chosen race did bless

In the wasteful wilderness:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

He hath, with a piteous eye,

Look’d upon our misery:

For his mercies shall endure,

Ever faithful, ever sure.

My name is entered on the list,

I’ve plighted hand and word,

To fight to death for Jesus Christ,

And conquer for my Lord.

And I will prove my vow sincere,

If he my helper be;

Nor all his foemen will I fear,

Since he upholdeth me.

 

May the grace of Christ our Saviour,

And the Father’s boundless love,

With the Holy Spirit’s favour,

Rest upon us from above;

Thus may we abide in union

With each other and the Lord;

And possess, in sweet communion,

Joys which earth cannot afford.

 

Jesus thy perfect love reveal,

My Alpha and Omega be,

And I thy blessed words shall feel

And witness them fulfill’d in me:

“Nothing hath fail’d of all the good,

My Saviour hath performed the whole,”

Firm to his promise he hath stood

I witness this with all my soul.

March 26.—Evening. [Or June 19.]
“A soft answer turneth away wrath.”

THE tribes on the other side of Jordan received the deputation with courtesy, and answered for themselves without anger.

Joshua 22:21–34

21, 22 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel, The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day),

23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the Lord, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the Lord himself require it; (In the sincerity of their hearts they appealed to God that they had no idea of offering sacrifice anywhere but at the one appointed altar. Appeals to God must never be lightly made, nor in any case where anything less than the highest interests are concerned. It is consoling to feel that God knows our motives, but we must do our best so to act that God’s people shall also know what we aim at.)

24, 25, 26, 27 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel? For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord. Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord.

They feared lest they should lose the means of grace, and lest the Jordan should become a line of division between them and their brethren at some future time.

28, 29 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you. God forbid that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the Lord our God that is before his tabernacle. (Their intention was thus shown to be honest, though the action had a very doubtful appearance. We are bound, however, never to put a worse construction than we can help upon other peoples’ conduct.)

30 ¶ And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard these words, it pleased them.

31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto them, This day we perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord. (Religious quarrels are usually very fierce, but in this case true wisdom ended the strife. When one is ready to explain, and the other willing to receive the explanation, difficulties will soon be got over. May all differences in this family be handled wisely and tenderly, and peace and love ever rule among us.)

32, 33 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned to the children of Israel, and brought them word again. And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. (Zeal for the truth made Israel prepare for war, but they were not hot-headed as some are in these days. Once enabled to believe well of their brethren, they were glad of it, and gave God thanks that doubtful matters were cleared up. It is well to watch over others with holy jealousy, but not to be rancorous and bitter.)

34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed, (or witness:) for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God. (Thus all ended well, and true religion ruled on both sides the Jordan. When shall our land become one again,—knowing only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism?)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 173–175). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

CBN News Asks Dr. Josh Axe Your Questions About the COVID-19 Pandemic — CBN News feeds

CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson spoke with Dr. Josh Axe, a doctor of chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist to ask him your latest questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the questions being addressed in this Q & A:

Donna:  Is the virus affecting more males or females?

Julie: What does the 19 mean on the virus? 

Jackie: Will microwaving my mail kill the virus? 

Yew-Lih:  Is hand made sanitizer with tea tree essential oil sufficient to kill the virus and is it effective to take elderberry as a precautionary measure?

Joan:  Is it true Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, and Aspirin make the virus go from mild to severe? 

Mike:  Will the COVID-19 test register a positive if you had it and recovered? 

Dave:  Can I pass on the virus if I don’t have a cough or runny nose and I am keeping my hands clean? 

You can submit new questions to us for our next Q&A at  newsanswers@cbn.org  or click here

We are answering them in the order in which we receive them.

GET YOUR FREE FACTSHEET: Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

FOR CBN NEWS CONTINUING COVERAGE ON COVID-19, CLICK HERE

via CBN News Asks Dr. Josh Axe Your Questions About the COVID-19 Pandemic — CBN News feeds

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Discusses Coronavirus Relief Bill… — The Last Refuge

On the heels of more than three million new unemployment claims, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calls in to CNBC for a phone interview to discuss the coronavirus relief bill that passed last night.

Mnuchin was asked about his reaction to seeing the 3.28 million new unemployment claims reported for the past week during the interview. Mnuchin said, “To be honest, I think these numbers right now aren’t relevant whether they’re bigger or shorter in the short term.”  WATCH:

via Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Discusses Coronavirus Relief Bill… — The Last Refuge

NEW WORLD ORDER: Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown Calls For ‘Temporary Global Government’ To Deal With The Coronavirus Pandemic — Now The End Begins

 

Gordon Brown has urged world leaders to create a temporary form of global government to tackle the twin medical and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

I feel like I have been waiting for this moment my entire Christian life, from the day I first opened my King James Bible and began to study of the scripture of truth regarding prophetic events to come. All this craziness could certainly end tomorrow, and everyone go back about their business, but I really don’t think that’s going to happen. No, what is happening right now is what the bible has been telling me for the past 29 years would happen.

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (KJB)

Honestly, I’m a little scared and a little excited. Scared because of the human misery I see happening all over the world, and not wanting it to touch me or my loved ones, as I watch those things with a heavy heart. But excited because if the whole world is preparing to unite in the New World Order, then Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines is about to take off. Everything I am seeing right now reassures me that the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church is closer now than when I first believed it over a quarter century ago.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelation 4:1 (KJB)

I have always believed that the born again Church would see a foretaste of the events of the time of Jacob’s trouble, and guess what? We are watching it right now. Global panic, raging pestilence, famine, earthquakes, a worldwide crisis to seal the deal. This is it. Get ready, Christian, it’s looking like it’s almost time to fly. And if for whatever reason our flight is delayed, then get busy telling people about salvation in Jesus Christ. We are still shipping out gospel tracts, and will be until they shut us down. Click here to get yourself a box today, and get busy for the Lord. The world is looking for answers, it is our job to give it to them. Jesus is The Answer.

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown Calls For Global Government To Tackle COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

FROM THE GUARDIAN UK: The former Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, who was at the centre of the international efforts to tackle the impact of the near-meltdown of the banks in 2008, said there was a need for a taskforce involving world leaders, health experts and the heads of the international organisations that would have executive powers to coordinate the response.

A virtual meeting of the G20 group of developed and developing countries, chaired by Saudi Arabia, will be held on Thursday, but Brown said it would have been preferable to have also included the UN security council.

“This is not something that can be dealt with in one country,” he said. “There has to be a coordinated global response.”

Brown said the current crisis was different to the one he was involved in. “That was an economic problem that had economic causes and had an economic solution.

“This is first and foremost a medical emergency and there has to be joint action to deal with that. But the more you intervene to deal with the medical emergency, the more you put economies at risk.”

During the financial crisis, Brown persuaded other global leaders of the need to bail out the banks and then hosted a meeting of the G20 in London, which came up with a $1.1tn rescue package. Despite Donald Trump’s “America first” policy, he said it was still possible to get support for an emergency body with executive powers.

Brown said his proposed global taskforce would fight the crisis on two fronts. There would need to be a coordinated effort to find a vaccine, and to organize production, purchasing and prevent profiteering.

Many countries have announced economic packages in the past two weeks but Brown said a taskforce could: make sure the efforts of central banks were coordinated; take steps to prevent the record flight of capital from emerging market economies; and agree a joint approach to the use of government spending to boost growth.

Gordon Brown said there had been resistance in 2008 to using the G20 as a vehicle for tackling the financial crisis, but that it should be clear to world leaders that there was no possibility of a go-it-alone approach working.

“We need some sort of working executive,” Brown said. “If I were doing it again, I would make the G20 a broader organisation because in the current circumstances you need to listen to the countries that are most affected, the countries that are making a difference and countries where there is the potential for a massive number of people to be affected – such as those in Africa.” READ MORE

Predictive Programming Has Prepared You To Accept The New World Order

Movies about a coming global government and a New World Order have been bombarding us for years, this is called Predictive Programming, and it is all around us. Just think of the COVID-19 coronavirus panic as a movie you just happen to be living in. Because that’s exactly what it is.

2011 Movie Eerily Predicts Current COVID-19 Events 2020

Is it just coincidence or is it predictive programming? Have the global elites been planning this for their New World Order depopulation agenda? I think by now, you already know the answer to that question. 

Now

via NEW WORLD ORDER: Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown Calls For ‘Temporary Global Government’ To Deal With The Coronavirus Pandemic — Now The End Begins

Trading Liberty for Security | Jacob Hornberger – FFF

Article Image
• Jacob Hornberger – FFF

There was a good reason why our American ancestors failed to include an emergency exception in the Bill of Rights. It was because they knew that throughout history emergencies have been the time-honored way by which people lose their liberty.

Thus, the First Amendment does not say:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, except in cases of emergency.

The Second Amendment does not state:

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, except in cases of emergency.

The Fifth Amendment does not state:

No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, except in cases of emergency.

The Sixth Amendment does not state:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, except in cases of emergencies.

The Constitution does not state:

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it, except in cases of emergencies.

Why didn’t the Framers and our ancestors include an emergency exception in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

Because they knew that such an exception would nullify all the restrictions in the Bill of Rights and the limitations on power enumerated in the Constitution.

That is, they knew that if they included an emergency exception, then they might as well have just called into existence a federal government with the omnipotent, totalitarian power to destroy their rights and liberties.

The Framers and our ancestors understood that emergencies and crises have been the time-honored way throughout history by which people have lost their liberties and their well-being at the hands of their own government.

Franklin Graham to Andrew Cuomo: What about babies’ lives? | WND

Franklin Graham

Evangelist Franklin Graham is urging New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to think about his declaration, amid the coronavirus crisis, that human lives are “not expendable.”

Shouldn’t that also apply to babies?

Graham posed the question in a post on Facebook in response to Cuomo saying at a daily briefing: “My mother is not expendable, and your mother is not expendable and our brothers and sisters are not expendable, and we’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable.”

Graham commented: “I agree with Gov. Cuomo on the high value of life and applaud his efforts to defend lives from the coronavirus. Yet he signed a law that legalizes abortion up to birth for nearly any reason.

“I respectfully urge the governor to consider his statements today in light of the millions of innocent lives taken by abortion.”

The son of evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin Graham is the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the global charity Samaritan’s Purse.

The Washington Examiner pointed out Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, which effectively allows the termination of unborn babies until the due date.

Cuomo praised the legislation at the time: “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”

Graham informed the governor: “In 2017 alone, 105,380 babies lost their lives by abortion in New York. Human life is not expendable, and we should work to save it – from womb to tomb.”

Source: Franklin Graham to Andrew Cuomo: What about babies’ lives?