Every Good Gift Is From Above

Podcast 38 Transcript

(This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.)

Hello, and good day. I am B. R. Maul, and you are listening to Living God’s Way In An Ungodly World. It’s good to have you here with me. Thank you so much for joining. We are currently in the book of James, chapter 1. And, I’ll be going over verses 16, 17, and 18. Before I begin the reading, I wanted to share with you something the Lord has placed upon my heart just recently.

And I’ve been praying on it, and this last weekend, He really seemed to speak to me about which way I’m supposed to go. And that is I have been determining whether or not I should begin to interview brothers and sisters in the faith. And the reason I’ve been thinking about that is because of our testimonies.

For all of us who are born again, we have a testimony. And we are to share that testimony because our testimony, our story of faith is something that others can relate to. If I start to share the stories of other born again believers, how they came to know Christ, and the changes that Christ has done in their lives, I truly believe that would be a very powerful tool to bring even more people to Jesus Christ because our Lord and Savior, Jesus, is truly remarkable. And I am always amazed when I hear other people’s stories. Stories, their testimony and how it can be so different and it can be so similar and a combination really compared to mine and other stories, other testimonies, it really does help other people to relate, but the Lord has put it on my heart and I have learned beloved that when the Lord does that, we need to seek him and well make sure that it’s him and make sure Amen.

It is indeed what he wants us to do. It just so happens that a friend of mine, who is a pastor, had several baptisms this past Sunday. And so I went and was part of watching, listening to their testimonies and watching their baptism, encouraging them, welcoming them to God’s family. It isn’t baptism that saves. We’ve gone through this before. And it’s not even baptism that makes a person a part of God’s family, but what it does is makes a public proclamation. The Christian says I belong to God Jesus Christ is my Savior and I belong to him. So it’s not the portal that one must walk through to be a child of God No, the blood of Christ is what cleanses us of our sins And it is one’s belief in one’s heart that God the Father raised him from the dead.

But I say it is a big part of being a part of God’s family because, well, let’s face it. For starters, sometimes people just don’t even know if you’re in God’s family if you haven’t been baptized because nobody has witnessed it. So, once people have actually witnessed that you are part of the family, then a person can be welcomed into the family.

Because any born again believer knows that going to church doesn’t make you a child of God, any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. So most of the time, it’s not a good idea to assume that just because somebody is Sitting next to you at church and singing and listening that they’re born again that they are in the family of God That’s not at all a case now It can be as simple as just asking somebody and getting to know them and finding out if they’re born again So that’s obviously one way but as soon as somebody is baptized They are openly declaring that they are a child of God, and at that time, the other beautiful part of that, it’s also the responsibility of the witnesses to welcome the people into the family of God, because we need to look out for one another.

That is how the first century church did it, and that is how we are to continue to do it, is that we take care of one another. So I am going to begin sitting down with brothers and sisters in Christ and interviewing from time to time. I don’t know how often that’s going to be. I don’t know how long the interview will be.

But I’m willing to just jump right on in. And I’m pretty excited about it because we definitely, definitely, we need to hear the Word of God. We need to learn the Word of God. And so I will continue to do what the Lord has given me the ability to do, and that is to teach and preach the Word of God. But I’m also very excited to introduce others as they share their story. And I’m excited because every time I hear somebody’s testimony, their story, it’s very encouraging. And one more thing about that. Don’t ever feel that your story is, well, just boring. I hear that because I think for some reason or another, well, people have this… idea that to be a worthy testimony that something huge had to have happened, but that’s not the case.

Yes, there are some stories that, well, are remarkable in just the events of themselves, but every story is remarkable for the very fact that someone was able to see Jesus Christ. And then one can look back at their life and already start to see a change, that sanctification process. And it’s often the stories that people think are just ordinary or plain that touch the lives of other people who are not born again.

Because they realize that they too can relate. An example of that is, in the area that I live in, there are many Catholics and Lutherans. And often what happens is… Somebody who has grown up in the Catholic denomination or the Lutheran denomination as they are reading God’s Word or they are among other people who are born again the Bible way and they realize That they know about Jesus, they know a lot about Jesus, and they even participate in the celebration of Christmas and Easter, and they may even really like Jesus, but many discover that they don’t know Him. They don’t love Him. They haven’t given themselves to Jesus. So, He is a Savior, but… they find out he’s not their savior, and that’s when their journey begins. And it’s remarkable. It is absolutely remarkable, because the devil, our enemy, is playing the game so hard to do just that. He wants to keep people so close to walking with the Lord. So close to entering into eternal life. That he’ll keep them right there. The door where the Lord is knocking at their heart and he’ll continue to lie and deceive and say yeah, you already know who that is. You don’t need to answer the door and my heart goes out to those people.

So around here, there are many stories, many testimonies of people finding out later in life. That they were not born again. That they really are not Christian. They thought they were, but they weren’t. And it is encouraging, because that’s what others think. You know what? Yeah, I wasn’t the only one deceived.

So every story is important, and in time, I’ll start interviewing, and I’ll start… Playing those interviews, so I’m very excited. But let’s jump to the book of James, chapter 1, starting with verse 16, and then we’ll do 17 and 18. Verse 16. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. With whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits.

So, last week we went over the fact that James, just prior to this, was talking about sin and what that can do. Starting in 13, he says, Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. And then today, starting on 16, that’s when James begins, Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights. And I’ll stop right there.

Now, the reason I wanted to tie those together is because James starts out verse 16 saying, do not be deceived. So he gives a warning. So even though he was telling us, be very mindful of this temptation that goes into desire, which then blossoms into sin and sin carried on is death. Now, the part that we should not be deceived about, he talks about in verse 17, because temptation does not come from God. He doesn’t tempt us. Now, he allows temptation to come our way. Why? Because he uses trials, little trials, big trials, however you want to look at trials, but he uses trials in order to strengthen us. But all good things come from our Heavenly Father, all blessings come from Him. Before I go much further down that path, I want to back up though to verse 16 when James says, do not be deceived, my beloved brethren, that word deceived, we’ve heard that before. It’s a very, very important word, beloved. And the reason it’s so important is because it’s the first thing that Jesus tells us when he begins explaining the end times. Which we are in, the end times. So after Jesus tells his disciples, when they are so excited about the temple and what it looks like, And Jesus said to them, Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, Not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.

Verse 3. Now, as he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately saying, Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no one deceives you. It’s the first thing that Jesus tells us. How important is that? Very important. He could have said anything. There’s so many things that he tells us in chapter 24 in Matthew about the end times. Many things that we’re going to see. Many things we’re going to hear. But the first thing he says is take heed. It’s a warning that no one deceives you. Here is where it’s very interesting because the Greek word that Jesus used for deceive means Cause to roam from safety, truth, or virtue. Go astray, deceive, er, seduce, wander, be out of the way. So, deceiving, we know that it makes, basically it pulls somebody away from the truth to cause to roam or to go astray from safety, truth, or virtue. That’s being deceived. So, now if we go back to the book of James, in one, verse 16 says, do not be deceived my beloved brethren.

Christian. The word he used for deceived is the exact same Greek word that Jesus used about the end times. So we need to be mindful of this because this is, after all, the Holy Spirit writing through James and making it very clear not to be deceived. Now Jesus is talking about certain things going on in end times, particularly he was talking about that there are going to be many that come in his name, many false prophets who are going to lead people astray.

And we’re seeing that in abundance in our modern time today. We are being deceived every single day. News outlets are deceiving people worldwide. We are being fed an agenda from those who own the news outlets. The mainstream media is steering society in the direction that they want society to go, which is, of course, the people who are in power.

We’re also being deceived. In many of our churches that we go to, because there are, there are some spiritual leaders who are intentionally misleading because they want to be popular, they want, uh, fame and riches, just like the Pharisees in the New Testament time period with Jesus, but even worse, a lot of spiritual leaders, pastors, preachers, ministers, all of them, priests, are themselves deceived.

Because they grew up in a world of deception in denominations that control the very movement, the very words that they speak when they go to church, the very doctrine that is continuously pounded into a person’s mind and soul week after week, month after month, year after year. And we have bought into it.

So deception is. at a massive scale to this very day. Now James, he’s talking about the relationship with our Heavenly Father. Do not be deceived and a lot of this is self-deception that James is talking about. Jesus was warning us that there are those who are going to deceive us and they’re good at it.

So, we need to be mindful, and by the way, the only thing that will guard us is God’s Word. God will protect us, He will guide us, but He does so through His Word and through His Son, Jesus Christ. But James is talking about the fact that he was just talking about the devastation of sinning and the reason he says Do not be deceived my beloved brethren And then he says every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

He’s making it clear that don’t let your own heart deceive you in thinking that it is God’s fault because of the sin or sins that have a hold on you, or because of what’s happening in this fallen world. And that’s so important because… Think of how many people, and you may be one of them, truly believe that God just doesn’t love them because of what’s happening.

Because they live in an abusive relationship, perhaps. They have depression. They’re struggling with, perhaps, financial needs. We can go on and on, but it is easy for people to point a finger at God and say, Why are you not? Saving me or why have you caused this to happen to me? I know people who are alcoholics, and they’ll blame God for it, and they’ll feel in their heart that I prayed about it, I’ve asked God to take this from me, and he hasn’t taken it from me.

Beloved, just because they speak the words, it doesn’t mean that they mean it. Many a time, people ask, Well, God, will you just take this from me? And then the next time it happens, and they do the same sin, they just automatically assume, well, then God isn’t helping me. No, it’s because you don’t want to let go of that sin. You’re holding on to it. Whether it’s lust, whether it’s anger and spite, those are a couple of really big ones, people don’t want to let go of their sin. They want God just to yank it from them, but at the same time, Even if he is yanking it from them, they’re holding onto it. And they’re not letting go.

But even more so, we’re told in Proverbs and in other places of God’s Word, that we shouldn’t expect God to answer prayers when you’re not even His child. We’re told in Proverbs 28;9, one who turns away his ear from hearing the law. Even his prayer is an abomination. Well, think about that. One who turns away his ear from hearing the law.

That’s equivalent to also saying, today, that one who doesn’t read God’s Word. So one who doesn’t want to listen to it. Back in ancient time, most of the people had to actually go hear God’s Word read in a synagogue. Because they couldn’t just go to the bookstore and buy a Bible like today. But today, we have it on computers.

We have it on books, we have it on audio books, I mean, you can listen to it, you can read it. But a person who’s not doing that, even his prayer is an abomination. And so the same person, the same people who are blaming God, or wondering why God isn’t answering their prayer, are the same people who go to church on Christmas, on Easter, and on Sundays whenever they can, and think that that’s pleasing God, as if God is bowing down, going, oh, thank you so much for, for coming to worship me. That is, oh, I just feel so great. God owes us nothing. We owe his son everything. And if we’re not taking the time of listening to the law, listening to the Bible, and or reading God’s Word, reading the Bible, then why when praying to God would anyone expect that he’s going to answer them?

As if God’s sitting there going, Oh, I just can’t wait till this person actually calls on me. So James is trying to help us out, and he’s pointing out, don’t do that. Do not be deceived. And in this case, don’t let your own heart deceive yourself, thinking that God is tempting you, God is giving you all this bad stuff, because no. Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above. It comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. God hasn’t changed. He doesn’t change his mind. And so, he’s never been tempted by evil, he can’t be tempted by evil, and he does not tempt people. That is from the fallen state, and that is from our enemy, and that is from our own sinful black hearts.

So until one is born again and receives a new heart, partakes in the process of sanctification, which is the process of God changing that child so he or she becomes ever so more like Christ. God’s beloved son until that happens, well, they’re going to remain in this rut of being overcome by sin, not having the Holy Spirit in them to overcome sin, not having the strength of God residing in them, the Holy Spirit to overcome sin, and they will continue over and over to fall into sin, to be a slave to sin, because God hasn’t changed. Now in verse 18, he goes on, James tells us, Of his, that’s God, of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth. That we might be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. He loves us so much that he has not forgotten us. He, by the word of truth, and we know that word is very powerful, God’s word is very powerful. Reading God’s word is very powerful. Listening to God’s word sanctifies us, is very powerful. Speaking God’s Word, memorizing God’s Word, is very powerful. It is transforming. And He brought us forth by the Word of Truth. He created us, as in all of creation, by speaking the power of God’s Word. That we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures, His prized possession.

And think about that. How true is that? We may think it’s burdensome that we have to live this life in a broken down world that has been overcome by sin, by evil and that, oh my goodness this is just horrible why do I have to go through this? But the reality of this is God loves us so much that he is going through this entire process of time, this whole process from the beginning of time and eventually to the end of time when we step out of time and into eternity to rid his creation of evil and to be forever with those who have chosen to love him by loving his son. That is awesome! That is amazing and Inspiring, and it really makes looking at this life like it’s really nothing at all. Whatever pains that we go through is going to be so temporary, is so temporary, compared to eternity.

That no matter what we go through here, it pales in comparison. to what we will receive in glory. And even now, in this sinful state, God’s grace bounds, and he makes himself available to his children. So we’re going through this process that he has designed. He is in full control. Do not ever think, as this world continues to unwind and seem to spin out of control.

That is only an allusion to us. God the Father is in complete control. Remember, He is love. He is love. He is righteousness. And He wants to give the gift of love. And He knows, because He designed it, that the only way to truly receive love is to give the ability to not give it. So for him to receive love, he had to give us, his creation, the ability to either reject him or accept him.

Because without the ability of us to not give our love, essentially, then it’s not ours to give. He just… automatically takes it and that’s love that he has designed. It’s beautiful. I can’t describe it. So every good gift, every perfect gift is from above. Everything you do that brings you joy. that gives you comfort, that puts a smile on your face, whether it’s company with loved ones, enjoying a tasty food that God has created and given us the ability to taste that food and to enjoy that food, relaxing in comfortable weather, weather that he has given as a gift, a nice, warm, sunny day, cool breeze. Every good thing that you feel, that you listen to, that you smell, that you touch, that you think about, is a gift from above. Everything.

And beloved, don’t you ever forget that he allows trials to make his kids stronger. His kids. So if you’re born again, every discomfort we get, he doesn’t cause that to happen, he allows it to happen. And why does he allow it to happen? Because he wants us to draw into him. He wants us to look at him and say, Abba, Father, I need you, help me.

And isn’t it amazing that our Creator loves us so much that he wants us to call on him and call out his name? That’s a blessing. And if you’re listening to these words right now, and you are not born again, and maybe you’re just hearing about Jesus for the first time, or maybe just a couple of times you’ve heard the name Jesus. Or maybe you have known the name Jesus as far back as you can remember, and you celebrate Christmas, you sing Christmas carols, you do all the traditions, celebrating baby Jesus come Easter, you celebrate him being on the cross, but you have never asked him to come into your heart. You have never repented and admitted with your tongue that you are a sinner and that you need a savior. I encourage you to do it right now. If God, if He is at your heart, if Jesus is knocking, the Holy Spirit is tugging at you. Beloved, do not wait another moment because you don’t know when time for you is over and you will be entering into eternity. We have no idea how many seconds or minutes that we have left.

And I say do it now and there’s no special prayer. There’s no special tradition. There’s nothing that you have to do. It is a gift from God. You just accept that gift and by accepting it you just admit that I am a sinner and yes I need a Savior. The gift of the blood of Jesus Christ. Just pray it. Just say it to God himself.

He knows your heart. And he, just like that, will enter into you, and you’re a child of God. Now, for anybody who may have just prayed and asked Christ into your heart, have repented. Or if you just recently, not long ago, either way, welcome to the family. Welcome to God’s family! And it’s time to read God’s Word.

I encourage, by the way, for those of you who have not gotten into reading God’s Word, the Gospel according to John, the fourth book in the New Testament. Read the book of John. It tends to be an easier read. And I also encourage reading Proverbs and Psalms. And if you want some psalms that are, are Psalms that just praise the Lord, well, I know Psalms 145 through 150, there’s 150 psalms, so towards the end of the book, are just worshiping the Lord. They just bring joy. He reveals himself so easily in those psalms. You can go to my website, brmaul.com, brmaul.com. You can get a hold of me there. Just click on contact. There’s also a place where you can donate.

If you’re able to support this ministry, there are so many people to reach. And the more money that we can raise, the more we can reach out, whether that’s for the radio or on the internet. But all of this, of course, costs money to reach out and to make the podcast available for people to click on or to find my website.

And you can also reach me at B. R. Maul, Box 126, Frazee, Minnesota 56544 and you can just put B. R. Maul as the addressee. I thank you so much again for joining me. This is podcast number 38. And again, I’m really excited to start to interview brothers and sisters who are willing to share their testimony, how their life was before they were born again, and how Christ has touched their lives and what that looks like now.

Every story is amazing. Many people out there who don’t even know what that means, a testimony, and what is it like to be born again? Beloved, continue to read God’s Word and pray to Him daily. The world is loud and will continue to try to fill your mind with junk. Be mindful of what you listen to and what you watch, and I encourage you, ask the Lord for the strength of To start reading his word more often, giving more of your time, let me rephrase that, giving more of the time that he has given you back to him and so someday he will say, welcome my child, my good and faithful servant.

And until next time,

God bless.