“Our first reaction to a heavy trial is to think something strange is happening to us. We don’t understand why God’s people have to suffer. So we wonder, if God loves me so much, why does He allow me to suffer? (1 Peter 4) – When I love someone, I want to save them from suffering. That’s why we often spoil our children. In protecting them from the consequences of their actions, we actually cause them to get more rebellious. God Loves us, but “Whom the Lord loves He chastens” (Heb.12). While others might “get away” with some things, God won’t let us get away with it because we are His children, and the trials are one way that God disciplines & purifies His children. Chuck Smith 1927-2013
“Are you studying the Bible to be a blessing to others? I pray you are also studying for yourself to rightly divide God’s Word! As you study His Word, the Holy Spirit prepares your heart so you will be able to give anyone who asks the reason for the hope that is in you. You can tell people why you have hope, when the world is hopeless (1 Peter 3) ! You should be able to give people a Biblical reason for the hope that you have in Jesus Christ, and to tell them about the Kingdom of God that will soon come to earth when Jesus establishes His Kingdom here. The importance of studying and knowing the Bible is to be able to explain not just what you believe, but why you believe it”. Pastor Chuck Smith 1927-2013
“God sees Christians as a nation with this peculiar hall-mark; that you are “a holy nation.” This is the true token of your nationality that you are “holiness unto the Lord,” “a peculiar people” belonging to God alone, marked off from the rest of mankind as peculiarly his. You are not to be as other men, you are “a peculiar people.” Your road is not the broad one where many go, it is the narrow one which few find, your happiness is not worldly pleasure, but pleasures at the right hand of God which are for evermore. – You are “a peculiar people”; to be witnesses of the praises & virtues of Jesus Christ, not only to know them, but to make them known to others. Beloved, how far are you doing this? I put the question personally to each one of you, for you were chosen by God on purpose that you “should shew forth the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”. Spurgeon 1850
“How beautifully Peter obeys his Master’s command to “strengthen your brothers.” This is the same Peter who once began to sink in the storm, and now is helping others to stand. This is that same Peter who denied his Master 3 times. But Peter begins his letter by introducing himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” God worked wonders in Peter’s life by His Grace! No wonder Peter writes to others, “Grace to you, & peace, be multiplied.” Truly, this is a blessing, beyond all comparison; that we have been begotten again by God the Father to a “Living Hope” (1 Peter 1. Our 1st birth brought us into sin & sorrow, but our 2nd birth brings us into purity & joy. We were born to die; now we are born never to die, “begotten again” unto a life that shall remain in us forevermore, a life which shall even penetrate these mortal bodies, & make them immortal, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
There is a growing wickedness in the land: The growing worldliness among professing Christians. They are indulging in extravagance in many ways; in luxurious habits, dress, feastings, and wasting the substance of which they are to be good stewards. When a man is giving liberally to the cause of God, I count it foolish to inhibit his spending liberally in other ways, for people usually spend by scale. It would be absurd to hold up a wretched miser, who gives nothing either to God or man, as an example to a liberal spender; but there is too much of extravagance around, which wastes the Master’s money in worldly pleasures, and amusements. Some ministers of Christ, have in these days even defended amusements which most have abandoned. We must be careful, wise, and very clear in our dealings with this growing evil, or we shall lose all spirituality in the churches. Spurgeon 1850:
“Christmas will come and go again this year as it has through the centuries and, after a brief moment of kindness, those who belong to the cold, hard world will go on killing and hating each other. Things are no better, they say. The whole thing is a childish myth. We know what they think, and the facts seem to support their ideas. But the end is not yet, and the world has not seen the last of the Christ Child. There are still fallen hearts with spiritual desires that stir them to praise the Christmas story. Thousands of people each year find their desire for salvation and holiness becoming impossible to ignore, and they turn to the One who was born in a manger to die on a cross for the sins of the world. Then the beauty that is Christmas enters their hearts to dwell there forever. For who is it that imparts such beauty to the Christmas story? It is our great God and Loving Savior, Jesus, Christ!
“OH the destructive power of the tongue once it is set on fire by hell! The tongue has the power to destroy people. How many people have had their reputations destroyed or their lives made miserable because of someone’s tongue? And many times, what is being said isn’t true. We need to realize the power of life and death is in the tongue. We can use our tongues to build up or to destroy. May God help us use our tongues in constructive ways; to encourage, to teach, to strengthen, to comfort, and to give hope!” Pastor Chuck Smith 1927-2013
“I have been set free in Christ Jesus. I’m free from the Law of Moses. The Law could not, and did not save me. I was saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus is the end of the law of works to all who believe. Our faith in Jesus brings us under a new law, the law of liberty. Under the law of liberty, I act upon things not to be saved, but because I am saved. This new law is a result of God putting His desires on my heart, and I delight in the things I do for Christ. This is the law of liberty. Yes, I do good works, but I don’t expect my works to save me. I look to Christ alone for my salvation. Because I am born again by the Holy Spirit of God, my life has been changed”. Pastor Chuck Smith 1927-2013
James was the son of Joseph & Mary & half-brother to Jesus (God was Jesus’ Father). He wrote this letter to encourage the young church that was being tested & scattered in 45 AD. James wrote before Paul ever wrote to the churches. James writes as a “bond-slave” of Jesus (James 1). A bond-slave had no rights, & was totally obedient to & dependent on his master. James never even brings up the family relationship he had with Jesus as half-brother. – – James is writing to his “brethren”. If you are born of the Spirit, you are in the Family of God, and James is writing to you. Encouraging you & I to Keep the Right Perspective on things & count it as “Joy” when you face trials of any kind. Joy is one of the things that define God’s Love (Galatians 5). Joy is an attitude of a heart that is born of the Spirit, and not dependent on outward circumstances.
If the Christian is where he ought to be, he should be like his Master, “outside the camp.” (Hebrews 13) What then? If we are outside the camp, are we cut off from God as well as from men? Shall we fume and fret because we are not of the world? Of course not, let us more fervently pursue spiritual things, yielding our disentangled spirits to the praise & glory of God. Are we “bearing His reproach”? Shall we despair? Shall we be crushed? No! Truly, we will count it all joy that we are counted worthy to be reproached for Christ’s sake. Let our lips be even bolder to confess His name. Let us more and more earnestly make known His glory and His grace. While the Enemy accuses us continually, our only reply shall be to offer the sacrifice of praise continually unto the Lord our God. Spurgeon 1865