September 18 –Of  Being Firstfruits

“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” –  James 1:18 (ESV)

Let’s take a moment to recognize how often we misunderstand the meaning of God’s promises because we use our own finite ability to reason out what makes sense. If a passage makes sense in our own reasoning there is no guarantee that we have a good understanding of what the Holy Spirit wants us to know of His inspired and authoritative words in Scripture. By example the promise in today’s verse teaches us that our regeneration is fully according to God’s will. He wills and it happens. “Of His will” a Greek. word that makes the point that regeneration is not just a wish. It is an active expression of God’s will. He always has the power to accomplish His will. James places this phrase at the beginning of the sentence in Greek, in order to emphasize that the sovereign will of God is the source of our new life. Regeneration, or the new birth is described as “He brought us forth.” We are God’s chosen “firstfruits” of the work Christ accomplished for us through His death. Let’s reflect back to the previous verses (James 1:16-17), where God promises us every perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father.


June 12 – Just Ask Rightly

“You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:2-3 (ESV)

When we consider what God’s word teaches about prayer, we find that we are to ask—and to ask with humility, sincerity, and love, and with an understanding that God is sovereign and that His will is what we most wish to be done. For Jesus prayed in this way in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying “Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:16) It was a bold prayer and Jesus had the courage to ask God to do something humanly impossible. Yet He showed complete submission to the Father’s will. It was God’s sovereign purpose that kept the cup from being removed as Christ prayed. In the same manner, the boldness, childlikeness, and eagerness we demonstrate when asking God to do the impossible are not undermined by His sovereignty; they are mercifully controlled by it. With boldness we too can come before our Father, trusting Him to accomplish all we need and all we ask that is in accordance with His will. We can never ask for something that is too big for God to do. So let’s ask!



January 21 – A Promise of Promises

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)

The promises God has made us and blessings He’s given us in these promises will never fail. We are reminded in today’s verses that we need to continue to believe and have faith in what God has promised. Hold on to our confidence in the face of whatever God allows to be put in our path of our lives. Due to persecutions, the recipients of this letter to the Hebrews were tempted to run away from their outward identification with Christ and Christians and to apostatize. His promise in the Bible is that He gives us the confidence and the endurance we need each day. It is His will for us to not lose the reward He’s promised. Each day we come closer than ever to our promised eternal reward. It’s no time to turn back. We don’t receive the great reward through our own effort of being good enough but by trusting each day in what God has promised. Our promise today is that we will receive what is promised by doing the will of God — which is to trust in Christ fully by living daily in the will of the Father.


December 30 – A Matter of Priorities

“ Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. ” – John 4:34 (ESV)

t was a common for the priorities of Jesus to be very different than the concerns of his disciples. Jesus, hearing how his activity in Judea was stirring up interest, he heads out of the region to avoid conflict with the powers in Jerusalem. He makes his way from to Galilee using the road through Samaria. An unusual route for a Jew but not for Jesus. He did so to be at Jacob’s well at just the right time of day. Jesus had an appointment with divine destiny in meeting the Samaritan woman, to whom He would reveal His messiahship. While waiting, the disciples go into a nearby town for food. They return just as Jesus’ conversation with the woman is finished. Having brought Him food, they offer it and encourage him to eat. But Jesus speaks of “food” differently than what the disciples did for him. For Jesus, fulfilling the will of His Father was more important to him than taking care of a passing physical need. That is what He lived for. He wanted his disciples and He wants us to recognize that God’s purposes and works have s a higher priority than satisfying even important physical needs. 


June 24 – Importance of His Will

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (ESV)

Knowing that God has promised eternal life when we believed on the name of the Son of God, gives us confidence and certainty in our lives as Christians. We have a wonderful promise today but we need to be careful to understand it rightly. Many these days speak of “praying” for others. People reach out to friends and friends of friends asking for prayer and receive assurances that the “prayers are being sent up.” But can just anyone who prays know for certain that God even hears? Does God answer and deliver on any and all prayers?” Our verse today gives us confidence that God will hear us but consider this very important condition. “…that if we ask anything according to His will…” To pray according to God’s will is to pray in accord with what He has told us He wants, not simply what we decide or desire we need. God may not respond to prayer made by those who do not believe on Him. God does not respond or answer prayers that are contrary to His will. God hears the prayers which are according to His will, not just according to our will only.