April 8 – The Gift of Giving a Gift

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:16-17 (ESV)

Have you ever been deceived? Of course you have. We all have been deceived by what others have done and by what others have taught us. We have a warning to not be deceived in today’s verse which should give us the encouragement that we are able to avoid deception if we ask for and receive the wisdom God has for us. The wisdom in this verse is the means we need to avoid deception. The original language expression in today’s verse refers to erring, going astray, or wandering off. Christians are not to make the mistake of blaming God rather than acknowledging their sin (James 1:13-15). Two different words for “gift.” First, is the act of giving, and the second, is the object given. Everything related to God’s giving is adequate, complete, and beneficial. The ancient expression for God was the “Father of lights.” It acknowled Him as creator of lights. “Lights” are the sun, moon, and stars. From man’s perspective, these celestial bodies have variation in their different phases of movement and rotation, they change and vary in intensity. But God does not—He is changeless and in Him there is no variation or shifting shadow.


February 2 – Truly No Fear

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ” – Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

In Psalm 23, which most people call the “Twenty-third Psalm,” we find our Good Shepherd being our protective shield wherever we go. Some of us have been where our lives have been at risk from nature and/or mankind. Others have faced a different kind of threat and have felt are deep in and under the shadow of evil forces, evil people. There is a valley of shadow for many who suffer from depression. David does not write ‘When’, he says “Even though I walk..” He knows because it is the way of life on this earth. David chooses and determines to NOT fear evil.  The promise from God is that He is with us. He protects us from evil and the evil one with  his rod. The rod was a club used by a shepherd as a defensive weapon.  The staff was for guidance and a help in hilly, rocky areas. It was also a comfort to know it could be a defensive weapon as well as used to carefully control the sheep which had a tendency to go astray. God is fully able to keep us safe from evil and comfort us in all situations.