August 14, 2008

Goodness of God: James 1

James was written for the believer. We are ready for the book of James, because we are ready to move forward with an active faith that marks mature believers. I am struck by how James' letter calls us to boldness in our prayers, addresses trials, establishes the source of temptation in our lives, and sets expectations for our behavior- all in the first chapter.

While studying James, I am reminded of how rich each chapter in the book of Proverbs can be to situations that we are facing in our lives. Known as the book of wisdom, Proverbs is filled with practical advice for life. We are blessed to have the Word of God in print, to hold and find comfort. James, referring to our access to the Father through Jesus reminds us that we can hear directly from God's Spirit.

James 1:5-6 : If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt. . .

We are welcome to go directly to God for specific guidance in our lives. When we are stuck in an area, we go straight into His presence, full of faith, and wait for answers. We can receive wisdom. And what a great word: generous. He does not hold back or ration His communication with us. We are not bothering Him. Have you not heard that He is busy with other people and their bigger problems? Well, we will not be pushed away from asking or expecting. He is inviting us to bring our faith, our expectant hearts, and come talk with Him. He wants to see us through the trials of life. He is our stamina, our ability to perservere. He is also our rescue!

Here is your essay question for the day: Differentiate a trial, a test and a temptation. Verses 12 and 13 list that we are blessed when we persevere under trial, that we receive the "crown of life" when we have stood the test, and that God does not tempt anyone.

Can it be so simple? God, who does not use evil as a currency, holds us and helps us and heals us from evil that encroaches into our lives.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Read and pray through the other half of James 1. We will discuss it together in a few days.

Let's lean in to the Giver of Goodness.

Leigh Ann

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