Week Twenty Four – blue plate special

Monday

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

“Trials”

In Hebrews 11:6, we reviewed the fact that without faith it is impossible to please God.  We saw the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11.  Each of these people endured trials or tests of their faith:

Abram (as an old man about 90 years old) believed the promise that an entire nation would come from him.
Noah built an ark on dry land because God told him to.
Daniel continued to worship God even when threatened with death.
“They were all commended for their faith.”  Hebrews 11:39

Faith cannot be strengthened without trials and testing.  It’s analogous to weight lifting resulting in increased strength.  If we are tested and stand firm in the Lord, then we gain strength for the next trial AND WE HAVE HISTORY TO LEAN ON: HISTORY OF VICTORY IN THE LORD.  Look at the progression of events: testing develops perseverance, perseverance results in maturity and completeness.

APPLICATION: No one enjoys trials.  But the character built through trials is God’s plan for you  — His plan for your completeness in Him.  If you are not challenged, what does your faith really mean?  Trials prove that your faith works!  They bear out your beliefs.

# “I AM not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in my Presence, trusting in My Strength” Sarah Young- Jesus Calling


Tuesday

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20

“Quick to Hear”

The presence of absence of holiness in our life is clearly brought to light in your communication.  In order for your speech to be pure, your heart must be right.  Eventually one’s true self shows in what you say!

In order for the tongue to be tamed, the Holy Spirit must be active in your life.  But many times in pride, we say things we should not – usually without thinking and certainly without consulting with the Lord.  IT’S A QUICK RESPONSE.  “For the tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing.”  James 3:8-10

It takes a conscious effort and humble, constant submission to the Holy Spirit to tame the tongue and speak appropriately.  Proverbs 15:4 says “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

APPLICATION: You can apply James 1:19-20 with the Lord’s help EVERYDAY.  Our tendencies are 1). never listen, 2). speak louder than the next person, 3). not curb our anger.

We need to be:
1). Quick to listen: To God, counselors, critics and our culture.
2). Slow to speak: Pick battles deliberately, choose words carefully.
3). Slow to anger: Cool headed, thick skinned, tender hearted.

#A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see anything above you. C.S. Lewis


Wednesday

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.  But someone will say, “you have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:17-18

“Faith and Deeds”

FAITH is not passive.  The first step in a believer’s life is faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.  This is not mere “head knowledge,” but a passionate embrace of the truth.  This is more than just believing about Jesus, in a historical sense.  “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that and shudder.” James 2:19.

FAITH IS ACTIVE – the greats of the Bible demonstrated their faith by their actions.  “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar.    You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:19

I WILL SHOW YOU MY FAITH BY WHAT I DO: If your faith is active, deeds will follow.  If the Holy Spirit has filled your “spiritual cup,” then deeds will follow.  This requires diligent confession of sin and a life of humility before the Lord.  Then it will be impossible to hide the results.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26


Thursday

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

“Wisdom”

Earthly wisdom is characterized by envy and selfish ambition.  (See James 3:14-15).  It is unspiritual and is the root of disorder and evil practice.  (See James 3:15-16).  This is 180 degrees out of phase with spiritual wisdom.  The wisdom of man cannot ever be pure: we have hidden agendas based on selfishness and envy.  Only in the Spirit can we have the MIND OF GOD!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God.” James 1:5.  Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

The characteristics of heavenly wisdom are 1).purity, 2).peace, 3).consideration, 4).submissiveness, 5).mercy, 6).good fruit, 7).impartiality, 8).sincerity.  This wisdom is free from earthly, selfish agendas.  It is of God and free from sin.

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13.

#WISE PEOPLE ARE PEACEMAKERS AND REAP A HARVEST OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!


Friday

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-8, 10

“Submit to God”

PRIDE is defined as: a high opinion of one’s own worth or possessions; conceit; arrogance; haughtiness.  You will not grow in your Christian life unless you first submit to God.  This involves paying true honor to the Lord and acknowledging His way in your life.  He is our creator.  He knows our innermost being better than we know ourselves.  He knows the end from the beginning.  We only have a glimpse through foggy glass.  Man has dealt with pride from the beginning.  The reason for the “Fall of Man” was pride.  They thought they could determine their destiny better than God.  Are you or I any different?  The first step is to humble yourself before the Lord.  Trust in His sufficiency.  Make His plan for your life, your plan.  If you let pride persist, problems will occur!

Pride is destructive.  It quenches the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Pride elevates self to number one — rather than God, then others.
Proverbs 8:13“I hate pride and arrogance.”
Proverbs 16:18“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Proverbs 3:34“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Pride gives us a false sense of security.  Prideful people dabble in sin, not expecting to be adversely affected.  DON’T BE FOOLISH.  “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” James 4:4.

BE HUMBLE AND SUBMIT TO THE LORD.  Look at the promises!
1). Resist the devil – He will flee.
2). Come near the Lord – He will come near to you.
3). Humble yourselves – You will be lifted up.

#God gave the power- God gets the glory. We have faith; He gives power. We get the help; He gets the glory. That’s the deal that keeps us humble and happy and keeps Him supreme and glorious. John Piper