Thursday, June 13, 2013

Survival Skills (James 1:1-11)

Phineas McDoogle Video Diary: "Blown and Tossed by the Wind" 
(James 1:1-11)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 

James is a New Testament letter written to Christians scattered among the nations. Why were they scattered?

Christianity began in Jerusalem with the death and resurrection of Jesus. The disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up among crowds and preached that Jesus was the Prince and Savior of Israel. The word of God spread and the number of disciples grew.

On of God's followers was a man named Stephen. Stephen preached that Jesus was God's Messiah. He told the religious leaders that they we just like those who killed God's prophets, except worse. They killed God's Righteous One. This made them furious. They dragged Stephen out of the city and heaved heavy stones at him. They killed Stephen.

On that day, a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 

But threats don't thwart the preaching of the Good News. Those who were scattered continued to preach the Word wherever they went. More people heard, and more believed. In the face of great opposition, the Church continued to grow. Because you see, sticks and stones can't break the marrow of these bones. 

James is writing to these Christians who face death daily. He is writing to Christians who hug their loved ones tight because they know very well that it might be their last. James writes to Christians who face jeers, sneers, and tears, and he tells them, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 

In his letter, James passes along four survival skills to his brothers and sisters in Christ. We are introduced to all four of these survival skills in the first 11 verses of James' letter.

1. Perseverance

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Perseverance is trusting God's work. It is trusting God to work in and through us. It is holding tight to God's goodness and timing. It is doing the right thing and never giving up no matter what because you believe God is at work even when you can't see the immediate results. 

"After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God firsts helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again" (Lewis, Mere Christianity).

2. Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Wisdom is trusting God's way. It is training your ears to hear God's voice.

3. Faith

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Faith is trusting God's word. It is knowing what God says, he will do, and acting accordingly.

4. Humility

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Humility is trusting God's worth. It is knowing God holds all power and glory and trusting that He will dispense it at the proper moment.

1st Service Kingdom Kids = 5
Kingdom Kids = 28
Kinder-Kingdom = 13

This Week: $20.31
Monthly Total: $27.00

No comments:

Post a Comment