Monday, January 31, 2011
The Book of James
As I sat in church holding my sleeping six month old I was able to hear a sermon for the first time in quite a long time. . .probably about six months! I found it truly refreshing to be able to sit and listen to a sermon (well most of it). We have a good preacher. He studies God's Word and is honest when God speaks to him through what he is delivering to us. Last night there was one thing he said that didn't necessarily have a huge part to do with the main context of the sermon, but it was something I needed. Basically he said that if you have your (spiritual) nose out of joint the book of James will put it back in to place by showing you the places in your life where you need to confess sin. Shortly after he said this the baby woke up, and I had to leave the service--but I got what God intended for me to have from last night's sermon, and I'm thankful I was able to be in the service. Today I took up the challenge. For my devotional time I will now begin to read a chapter of James each day along with reading through the Bible. I know how easily I forget and become carnal. It's a daily battle. Today when I started in chapter 1 I had an immediate challenge. Lately I've been particularly overwhelmed by certain trials in my life and have been looking for a way out. God used James 1:2-4 to help me to refocus on the fact that He is working in my life to teach me patience. "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." The Lord has helped me to see that I need to allow him to do a "perfect" or "complete" work of patience in my life. Instead of looking for a way out I need to be asking the Lord to help me trust Him and learn what He has me to learn from this particular situation. When I think of trials, a vivid example comes to my mind. When we were in the Philippines last May, the country was having the hottest weather they have had in 70 years. We were blessed to have air-conditioning most every night we were there. When we were in the mountain province the weather was bearable and we did not need air-conditioning, but when we were in San Manuel the heat was simply unbearable. Without air-con, as the Filipinos call it, sleeping was an impossibility. One night I woke up to what felt like a wall sitting on me. The heat was so intense I felt like I couldn't breathe. In a few seconds I gained my senses and realised that we were experiencing a "brown out" which meant there was no power. My husband's uncle was sleeping by the front door of the house so that only the screen door had to be closed. All the windows were open in the house, but there really was no difference; there was no breeze. Two of our children woke up and were crying because they were so hot. (I felt like crying! I was due with a baby in less than 2 months!) As my husband and I sat there, each fanning one of the crying children I kept praying in my head, "Please Lord, help the A/C to come back on! Please, help the A/C to come back on." After a while of fanning and trying to console the children, I realised I was praying the wrong way. My new prayer was, "Lord, please help us to endure this heat. Please help the children to be able to fall asleep in spite of this heat." Soon the children were able to fall asleep. We all fell asleep again and in a while we were awakened by the pleasant noise of the A/C coming back on. The next day my husband told me that the same thing had happened in his mind that night. This reminded us both of when we face trials in our lives. So often we beg God to take the trials away. Today, I needed to give the trial to God and ask Him to help me through, to learn patience. . .and whatever else He has for me to learn! Thank you God for your patience with me!