Jump Start # 2487
James 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
Our verse today reminds us that with God there is no variation. That word simply means change. God doesn’t change, and that’s a good thing. It’s good for many reasons. It seems that everything else changes. As one gets older, you tend to notice changes more. Things are not the way they once were. This is part of life—it’s never stationary. It’s always changing.
For instance, seasons change, especially where I live. Within one day a person can go from having the air conditioner on to ending the day by turning on the furnace. The common thought in these parts is if you don’t like the weather, just wait, it always changes. A young man has moved up to our area from Florida. I asked him if he was ready for winter. He said, “I have a jacket.” I said, “Son, up here, you need boots, gloves, scarf, hat, and a coat. Then you need an ice scraper for your car.” He said, “That’s going to be expensive.” I just smiled and handed him a super sized ice scraper.
Stores close. Churches close. Buildings are torn down. New houses go up in what was once corn fields. The cute puppy becomes an old dog that sleeps most of the day. Cuddly little grandchildren grow up and start driving, dating and getting married. Our favorite teachers retire. Our preachers move. New software and new phones challenges us because they are different.
People shop differently today, often without leaving their house. Groceries are delivered. You can pay someone to string your Christmas lights, walk your dog and drive you to the airport. My, oh my, things change. My dear dad who is in his 90’s, lived in a house without electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. Just in his time, we’ve put men on the moon, can send a picture from a cell phone across the planet in seconds, do your banking without leaving the house, transplant hearts, replace hips, and have diapers that change colors when they need changing. Our ovens clean themselves. Microwaves heat food in seconds. Our cars have heated seats and cameras that show you what’s behind you. We can livestream our worship and even watch a sermon months after it was preached. Our copy machines can copy, fold and staple booklets in seconds. On my office wall I have a couple of framed religious magazines from the 1840’s-1850’s. Those articles were hand written and then sent to a type setter and in the course of several long days the papers were published. I could do it all before lunch with the technology today.
Life is always changing. It seems that nothing stays the same. But here are some things to keep in mind:
First, we still die. We may be living longer today, but we are still dying. There is no escaping that. That has been going on since Cain killed Able. Death brings sadness. Death casts one into eternity. Death ends things here. Whether we talk about a young family living in a log cabin in the wilderness in the early 1800’s, or in a village in Europe in the 1200’s, or in the first century, or today, we still die. Just in the news around here, a police officer was killed. A young school boy was killed crossing a street. A drug addict died of an overdose. An elderly person in a nursing home died. This could be in any town. This is every day. Some things never change.
Second, our natures do not change. Since the Bible was first written, we struggle with sin. We fight temptation. We have attitudes, some good, some not so good. We have guilt. We must decide whether or not to forgive. David, from his rooftop, looked at a woman bathing. That temptation is the same as a man looking at a porn site. King Saul was angry and threw a spear. That temptation is the same as someone grabbing a gun and shooting. The prodigal’s older brother who refused to welcome and forgive the prodigal is just about the same as a church member who avoids another because he doesn’t like him. What makes the Bible so real to us is that the people in the Bible are not much different than you and i. Choices. Right and wrong. Good and evil. That’s what Adam faced. That’s what Cain faced. That’s what you and I face. What did people back then worry about? Family. Health. Money. Some things never change.
Third, from our passage, God doesn’t change. He is the same. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Past, present and future. God is the same. He loves you. He wants you to trust Him, obey Him and follow Him. He knows you can do it and He wants you to do it. Ancient Israel worshipped on Saturday. The early disciples worshipped on Sunday. However, faith, devotion, pleasing God remained the same. The Gospel message that saved Lydia, will save you. The hope of the Gospel that encouraged a depressed Paul, answered the questions of the Corinthians, and gave courage to the persecuted, still works on you. The way to be saved remains the same. The God that Abraham prayed to, is the same God that you can pray to. The same Bible that brought salvation to the villages of Europe, can bring salvation to your heart.
God hasn’t gotten old on us. We haven’t missed His best years. I’ve gone to concerts before where the performer couldn’t hit some of the high notes anymore. Some do not even try to sing some of their most famous songs because they can no longer do them. Their best years are behind them. It’s not that way with God. He’s just as strong, wise and loving as He has ever been. He’s got the best for you, just as He did for those early believers. God’s not going to have a bad day. You are not going to catch Him in a bad mood. God doesn’t change. The loving God that wants me to come home to Him is the same. He is the same today, as He was yesterday, as He will be tomorrow.
Some things never change. We could add that God’s message doesn’t change. Oh, some are trying to make the Bible politically correct, and make it say things that it doesn’t say, and make it accept things that God considers sin. But, it won’t work. God’s word never changes. It transcends all cultures and all times. In good times and bad times, in happy times and in sad times, one can count on the word of God being the same. The Bible is the same here as it is there. The Bible is the same today as it will be tomorrow. Some things never change.
I read about a man who is trying to marry his robot. How dumb can some become. I suppose down the road when they make a prettier robot, this guy will divorce his robot so he can marry another. What about all of that? Could it be possible? Can you marry your dog? How about marrying a hotdog? There is no end to how far some will sink. But some things never change. What God says about marriage remains the same.
So, in our changing times, it’s important to see that some things never change.