James on Trials part eight

It’s good to endure trials because of what God is doing in those who endure God uses trials help us become more holy. As believers we can rest assured that every single trial that comes into our life has a purpose: to make us more like Jesus. I like how the writer of Hebrews puts it, “…but he disciplines us for our good, that we might share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:10,11) … Continue reading James on Trials part eight

James on trials part seven

Sometimes preachers make it sound like if you choose to follow Christ your life will suddenly become easy. When they say things like that, I’m never sure what Bible they are reading because if there’s one thing God’s Word makes crystal clear it’s that life is anything but easy. The apostle James certainly doesn’t pull any punches. He writes, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial…” which implies that we will experience trials. And trials by definition are painful. If they weren’t painful, they wouldn’t be a trial. When we experience pain, we often react by becoming bitter and … Continue reading James on trials part seven

On Trials part five

God does not always answer our prayers for wisdom. But it’s important to understand that if our prayers for wisdom go unanswered, the problem is not with God. The problem is with us. We are asking God for wisdom in the wrong way. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Many of us ask God for His … Continue reading On Trials part five

On Trials part four…

God will provide what we need to live the Christian life, if we ask. The problem is – most of us are not humble enough to admit we need wisdom. I remember when my daughter went through the “I want to do it” stage. We’d be putting on her shoes, I’d go to tie them, and almost every time she’d say, “I want to do it, Dad…” Now, she’s two years old. She has no idea how to tie her shoes. But she’ll wrestle with the laces, fumble around, sing a little song that my wife taught her about a … Continue reading On Trials part four…

On Trials part three…

My wife and I enjoy watching the Olympics together. I’m a dreamer, so when I watch the Olympic athletes I often imagine myself being able to do exactly what I see them doing. Then I go out and try, and find out real quickly it’s not nearly as easy as it looks. I remember the first time I went skiing. I was in high school and thought it would be so easy. About a thousand bumps and bruises later, I realized it wasn’t. What looked so straightforward and effortless while sitting on my couch watching T.V. was incredibly challenging and … Continue reading On Trials part three…

Who is there to condemn? part 3

The death of Christ is reason number one we don’t have to be discouraged over our sin. The resurrection is reason number two. The apostle Paul continues, he says “…more than that, who was raised…” One reason we despair over our sin is because we doubt the efficacy of Christ’s death on the cross. When you move beyond godly sorrow over sin into ungodly despair or self-pity, when you begin to look at your sin and say to yourself, “I’m just don’t know if Christ could have possibly dealt with this…” it’s as if you are looking at the cross … Continue reading Who is there to condemn? part 3

Who is there to condemn? part 2

There are some who are not concerned about their sin because they think they are good people. Not Paul. He was a man who was the self-proclaimed chief of sinners. And the hope Paul offers those who feel their own unrighteousness is not some sort of positive feel good self-esteem type message. If you take the time to read the beginning of Romans you will find in fact just the opposite. He makes it clear that we are much worse than we actually think we are. “There is none good, no not one.” There are others who are not concerned … Continue reading Who is there to condemn? part 2

Who is there to condemn? part 1

Do you feel righteous? I guess that is kind of a silly question really, in that probably the only people who feel very righteous are the self-righteous and most of us don’t want to be that. The truth is for many of us, as we study God’s Word and we hear good preaching, we look at our own live and it seems sometimes like we are constantly failing. We’ve got the out and out sins in our lives that is for sure, but and I think this might be worse, even when we try to do the right thing, if … Continue reading Who is there to condemn? part 1

Making the Most of Difficult Situations Part 3

If James stopped at, ‘consider it all joy’ someone might mistakenly think he’s talking about the power of positive thinking. Or to borrow a phrase from an old pop-song, that he’s merely telling believers, “Don’t worry, be happy.” “You’ve lost your home, you’ve lost your job, the rich are taking advantage of you? Here’s what you do. Pretend like those things aren’t happening. Think about how rich you are going to be someday. Live in a fantasy world, and you’ll be able to make it through.” Don’t laugh. That’s how an many people respond to trials. They try to think … Continue reading Making the Most of Difficult Situations Part 3

Making the Most of Difficult Situations Part 2

The question is how? The fact that James commands us to consider trials all joy means considering trials all joy is not our natural reaction. If we are going to experience joy in the middle of trials – we must do something! That is so important to understand. We can’t wait until we feel joy in the middle of trials, we have to step up to the plate and take action. We must stop listening to ourselves and start talking to ourselves. James says we have to consider trials a reason for joy. To consider means ‘to lead.’ When life … Continue reading Making the Most of Difficult Situations Part 2