Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Explaining Away My Sin

James 4:17 (NIV) “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

“I need to send a note of encouragement to Sadie” I thought as I read her husband’s obituary in the local newspaper. I even bought a card. But I got busy and didn’t send it. “I’ll do it tomorrow when I have more time,” I rationalized. I forgot.
The woman in line in front of me at the supermarket had asked for prayer at church for a situation in her family. “I should give her a hug and tell her I am praying,” I thought. But there were people around us who might wonder what I was doing so I decided to wait for another time with less people. That time never happened.
Ever been there? I have many times, unfortunately.
But then I read today’s Key Scripture in James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Say what? I’m surely not sinning. I’m a bit lazy. I admit I have a bad habit of procrastinating and putting off what needs to be done. But sin? In a word, yes.
Once and for all, I need to recognize that when those thoughts come to do or say what is good for another person, they are the Holy Spirit nudging me to show His love and encouragement.
And when I ignore them – for whatever reason – I am ignoring the Spirit in me and His promptings to be Jesus to those around me. And I sin.
I don’t always know the reason why I don’t obey. Maybe I’m afraid I will offend or embarrass. Maybe I am more focused on me than on those who are hurting.
The reason is irrelevant. James is telling us, clearly, that when we know the good we need to do and we don’t do it – for whatever reason – that is sin.
Today, no matter where you are or what you are doing, be open to the Holy Spirit directing your life. When He speaks, listen and obey. Immediately.
That’s my plan from this moment on. I pray that it will be yours as well.

Father, forgive me for not listening when you nudge me to be your hands and feet to those around me. Help me to listen and obey. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Have you ever felt led by the Lord to do something specifically for someone but you ignored that leading? If so, why?

Carry two stamped envelopes and cards in your purse. When the Lord puts someone on your heart to send encouragement to, write their name on the envelope. Make a point to write the note that day, pray for that person and mail the card immediately.

James 4:17 (NIV) “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Romans 7:15-18 (NIV) “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

Proverbs 15:19 (NIV) “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.”

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Copyright 2013  Nancy E. Hughes