Giver of Good   

James 1: 17

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

Every good gift comes from our Father who is in heaven.  Where do you suppose every bad gift comes from?  Not the Father of lights, for there is no darkness in Him, no hint even of a shadow.  Honestly this sounds like a very simple principle.  Well, I suppose it is, but people get confused about it all of the time.  John 10: 10 tells us that the devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy and this verse tells us that good gifts come from our Father.  Why is it, then, that so many people think that God sent them cancer or some other portion of the curse.  He is the Father of light, the author of the blessing.  The devil is the one trying to kill you.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 7 Paul tells us about his “thorn in the flesh.”  Now some folks will tell you that God gave Paul that thorn in the flesh.  I don’t know how they get there intellectually since the verse says plainly that it was a messenger of Satan.  Do we think that God sent a messenger of Satan to Paul?  Well, of course not.  That is silly.  So why do we think God sends us thorns in our flesh?  Well, the answer is that we have been deceived.  The devil is a liar and the Father of lies according to Jesus (John 8: 44).  We don’t have to believe his lies though.  And we must be diligent to know the Word of God so that the devil cannot deceive us any longer.

Weakness to Grace

Proverb 25: 21 – 22

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

What do you think of this passage? Is this counsel about heaping guilt and shame on your enemy or is it about showing kindness because that is God’s way? I have always thought it was the latter and that the heaped coals are simply a by-product. Seeing what we now learn in the New Testament, seems to confirm this idea.

God saved vengeance for himself (Romans 12:19) and Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5: 44). Today’s verse, then, is right in line with New Testament theology. Most of you know God calls us to be charitable towards those who persecute us, so that is not the revelation of the day. It is a good reminder, though, because none of us wants to pray for the person who is a thorn in our flesh. This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. This is grown up Christianity.

Paul had the same problem. You see, he had a thorn in his flesh as well (2 Corinthians 12: 7). He asked God to remove the painful impediment, but God taught him that the solution to life’s challenges is God’s grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9 TLV). So, I am not trying to tell you, today, to do what you already know God has told you. I am trying to help you find the means to do the impossible because if you are like me, and many others, praying for your nemesis is a hard thing to do, especially when they continue to be a thorn in your flesh. God knows what He is asking of us and knows it is impossible in our strength, so He has blanketed us with His grace so that we may do all things. The theme, then, of this Word of the Day is more about God’s grace as He supports you than about feeding your enemy. I think it is timely too because I know many of you are more challenged during the holidays than any other time.

Here is my prayer for you: Father, cloth these, your beloved, in tapestries of grace and mercy. Comfort them and embrace their hearts with your love. Help us all, Father, to do as you direct us. Pour out your grace upon us and manifest your power through our surrender. Cause your strength and will to shine through our weakness so that your glory fills the visible spectrum. Help those who hinder us. Show them your grace and give us favor in your sight and in the eyes of all people.