Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When Trials turn to Tempations

James 1:12-15

Trials. They come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are physical, like a sickness. Sometimes, they are inward, maybe a struggle that you don’t want to talk about and you keep it in. But no matter what the trial is, they have one thing in common, God desires our good to come out of them. He desires for us to be successful in coming though them. He uses these trials to stretch and grow our faith in Christ. Yet, where do temptations come from? In a financial struggle, where does the temptation to lie on your taxes or steal some money from a cash drawer originate? Is that God? By no means, God desires our good, but our own sinfulness turns a trial into a temptation. We see this in James words to these early Christians today.
James says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial.” Why is such a man blessed? Who would think that a trial is a blessing? These believers that James is writing to were most likely early Jewish Christians that has be driven from Jerusalem during Jewish persecution of the church. James tells these people, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial.” The reality is that James is continuing and building upon what he said about tests of faith that he talked about in vv 2-4 of this chapter. There he said, in essence, “Be joyful at the testing of your faith because that testing produces steadfastness or perseverance and let that have its full effect because that means you will be perfect and complete and lack nothing.” James has told us that trials produce steadfast faith and now he says we are blessed when we remain steadfast, when we remain faithful and trusting in Christ for what he has done for us. The reason we are blessed is what he says in the rest of the verse. He says, “…for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” We receive the crown of life when we are steadfast in our faith and trust.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Word and Sign (2 Kings 20:1-11)

For the Scripture passage go to:

Faithfulness. The faithfulness of God is at stake in today’s text. On many levels we struggle with God’s faithfulness. How is God faithful? How do we know that God will be faithful? How do we respond to that faithfulness? We all come to a point in our lives when we have doubts, when the burdens of our selves weigh down on us. What do we do? Do we attempt to look inward for some subjective feeling about our faith? Will we make the claim that our assurance of God’s faithfulness is based on our feelings of his faithfulness? Or will we know God’s faithfulness through His words and His signs that he has given to us through his messengers? I say, we must take seriously these words and signs that God gives through His messengers.