Sunday, 8 June 2014

TFTD - 07 June 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

07 June 2014

Judges 2; 3
Isaiah 31
James 1

“COUNT IT ALL JOY … WHEN”

The letter of James, after words of greeting in the first verse, then gives some blunt but valuable advice, “Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters), when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete …”

Count it all joy!  James, we conclude, means ‘spiritual joy’ in the heart.  Can we not experience this, especially when we look back on a difficult series of events in our lives; should not at least some of the Israelites have felt this as they came to Mt. Sinai - and the disciples as they realized their Lord was alive again?  How the hearts of some burned within them.  What kind of joy is experienced in these situations?

Then we note what James next states!  “and let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” [James 1:4]   Perfection!?  That is, perfect faith - that sees their life from the Lord’s perspective - and in that way - lacks nothing that matters - especially in an eternal sense.  Even the events in the world are seen from this perspective - we know more and more surely that the Lord is in control. especially when we sense the divinely ordained end is near. .

James then says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” [James 1:5]  But there is a vital qualification to this asking!  We must “ask in faith with no doubting” [James 1:6]  A person who doubts, in his approach to God, “must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” [James 1:7]   Our lives, our minds must have a constant ingredient of genuine faith in them.  James stresses that those who do not have this - increasingly have minds that are “driven and tossed” like the sea waves, he (or she) says James “is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways.” [James 1:8]

Our world tempts us, tests us, toward double-mindedness.  Let us fix in our minds the outstanding message of James that when we “meet trials of various kinds” we “count it all joy” because we see our lives from God’s perspective.  We take comfort from the lessons of the past, the trials of faith that should have strengthened us.  In a few days we will read Peter’s first epistle, let us note his words, that we must live “as good stewards of God’s varied grace … as one who serves by the strength that God supplies.” [1 Peter 4:10-11]
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- DC


07 June 2014

"MOSES looked down. He had forgotten his sheep and had been fingering nervously or gripping tightly the shepherd's rod in his hand. He cast it to the ground and ran from the serpent to which it was transformed, until at God's behest he took it by the tail and it lay still in his hand with its familiar feel. Yes, God can change the ordinary things, the things we use every day, to purposes beyond our imagination: if we trust Him. Have we learned the lesson? It is oft repeated. “How many loaves have ye?”

Even man himself can be changed. The leprous hand which Moses drew from his bosom depicted not only his own inner weakness and need of healing, but the power that lies around us and within if we trust the Lord. We may have but a rod, the everyday token of our normal life, but the Lord can work wonders with it. Nothing is ordinary when the Lord is around, neither the thorn bush in the wilderness, nor the shepherd's staff, nor the shepherd's hand."

- Harry Tennant
Moses My Servant