In His Word 1-10-11

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:2-8 (NLT)
When you ask God for something, do you ask for personal benefit or for the good of the kingdom? I think it is time we get our priorities straight. I was looking through the scriptures because I keep hearing that this is a year of Opportunities. So of course I went to study the Word’s version of what this is. Most of the scriptures I read talked about taking the opportunity to speak the Gospel. Then I remembered my pastor using this scripture and talking about our faith being tested with the troubles that come our way. It is a time of opportunity. When troubles come we need to remember that God is with us and that these things happen to increase our faith in Him.

We are to accept things as they come and be content with what we have to suffer through. Then we need to realize that it is a test of our faith that we are enduring. We need to allow our faith to grow stronger so that we may be used for His Glory. Wow! Think about it. When we have to go through a test of our will it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Oh sure, at the time it can feel like too much, but God knows what will come out of it. He knows how much we can take.

A while back when we were having car problems, I lost it. For a few moments I had to just cry, to my hubby first and then to my Lord. I could not take anymore! God knew how much I could really handle and He stepped in and took over. How awesome He is at that! He gave me my husband to comfort me and encourage me through his words, and His Word as well.

I learned to accept what I had to endure and figured out how to get the correct kid to the right place at the right time and everyone made it to their play, class, or test on time. God is so good that He gave me a sound mind and strength in my body so that I could keep up with everyone’s schedules. Imagine how crazy the world would be without a loving, caring, organizing God to help us through each day.

Just like the scripture says; when you need wisdom, ask God. Whether it is wisdom to figure out what school to send your child to, or wisdom to eat right, or to get everyone where they need to go, God will give it to you if you will only ask Him. Remember from last week - the fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding. Asking for wisdom from Him means you are humbling yourself to His greatness. That gives Him the reverence, the "fear of the Lord" kind of respect that God deserves. In asking for help from God, we show Him that we know we can’t do it all by ourselves. When he put us on the earth it was with a plan, His plan. He has show us through His word that we can’t do it all by ourselves and we need to fully rely on God to get through our lives.

Needing God to lean on is a good thing. It shows Him that we know that we are weaker and He is stronger. He wants to be our guide, director, teacher, Lord and king! So putting things in right perspective; what are we doing to share the opportunity to know Him this year? How are we making this our year of opportunity? Are we taking the opportunities that He has given us to share Jesus with those around us? Will we be ready for the ones ahead?

Let’s plan to take every opportunity to share the Gospel each day. Let’s make this a day, a week, a year, a lifetime of opportunities to share Jesus by loving one another and sharing that love with those around us. Instead of being cranky about things not getting done, be full of joy! Instead of shaking your fist or pointing at the motorcycle that cuts in front of you, pray for his safety. Accept that the things that are going wrong will pass and better days will come. Count as joy the things that come against you because once they are gone you will be stronger, and will have brought others to follow the path of Christ by the example of strength they saw in you.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to stand and not fall. Help us to stand with You as we come up against all the trials we have ahead of us this year. Help us to be strong each day as we take every opportunity to worship, share Your love with others, and tell them your story. In Jesus' name, amen.

Suggested reading: James 1:1-27; Ephesians 5:1-33; Colossians 4:1-18 and Galatians 6:1-18.