Showing posts with label Trials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trials. Show all posts

29 July 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 1:12

D3 Believers Should Remain Steadfast in Faith While in Trials James 1:12

James 1:12 WEL Blessed [is] the man who patiently endures temptation, for when he has passed the test, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Blessed= Happiness is the Greek word μακάριος makários. We looked at that word in James 1:2.
Patiently endures=
  • This is the Greek word ὑπομένω hypoménō.
  • It means
    • To remain, stay behind (Acts 17:14)
    • To persevere, stay in faith, etc. (James 5:12)
    • To calmly endure a trying situation (1 Peter 2:20, Hebrews 12:2)
  • Note, it is to patiently endure. God gives us grace for this. Grace is the strength and ability to do God’s will.
  • This is the Greek word πειρασμός peirasmós that we discussed in James 1:2
  • The Lord Jesus understands for He was tempted, too, yet without sin. (Luke 22:28).
  • God is full of mercy to endure and provide a way out of the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • Those who have a desire to be rich often fall into this temptation (1 Timothy 6:9).
  • We can rejoice that our God, knows how to deliver us from temptation. He can provide a way out through His grace (2 Peter 2:9).
Crown of life=
  • Crowns
    • Crown of glory: 1 Peter 5:4
    • Crown of righteousness: 2 Timothy 4:8
    • Crown of life: James 1:12, Revelation 2:10
    • Crown of rejoicing (soul winner's crown): 1 Thessalonians 2:19
    • Often another crown is mentioned, but to me all the crowns listed above are eternal and imperishable: 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
  • God gives these rewards because
    • He is kind.
    • He says He will.
    • He recognizes our level of love and priority for God and His ways. Are we loyal? John 15:8-10
    • Those who receive crowns do so because they believed God and did His ways (with the help of His grace). Hebrews 11:6
    • We are in a race, so will we run to the goal or give up? Hebrews 12:1-2
    • God rewards faithfulness: Hebrews 3:14
    • The start is important, but so is the ending: Luke 9:62
Promised= His word is good. It will happen. He does not say when, but it will happen.
Love Him=
  • Love= This is the Greek word ἀγαπάω agapáō. It is the love of choice, not necessarily emotion.
  • We show we love God:
    • By obeying His commandments in the New Testament (John 15:10, 1 John 5:2-3)
    • Remaining steadfast and true to Him and His kingdom (Colossians 1:23, Hebrews 3:14). For Christians, this is knowing and believing the Gospel, knowing His teachings (doctrine) and why, and knowing His lifestyle that He lived and wants us to live and why.
  • What is the importance of testing?
  • Why does God give crowns?
  • How do we love God today?

25 July 2019

A Few Thoughts on the Epistle of James—James 1:2-8

James 1:2-8 WEL My brothers, consider it all joy when you find yourself surrounded by various trials. 3 Know this that the testing of your faith brings about endurance. 4 Let endurance have its full, complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, then ask the God, who gives to all profusely and doesn’t rebuke, and it will be given to him. 6 But one must ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 Do not let that person think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 A double minded person [is] unstable in every way.

  • Can be a flesh brother (Matthew 4:18)
  • Can be a flesh sister (feminine case) (Mark 6:3)
  • Can be those of the same nationality (Romans 9:3)
  • Can be a fellow believer (John 21:23, Hebrews 2:11, Romans 8:29)
  • Brothers in our passage are all those who believe and placed their trust into Jesus Christ.
  • There is a difference between joy and happiness
  • Happiness is the Greek word μακάριος makários.
    • It is usually translated blessed, yet sometimes happy. Compare Matthew 5:3 and 1 Corinthians 7:40.
    • Yet, in English, there is a difference between happiness and blessed: As adjectives the difference between blessed and happy is that blessed is having divine aid, or protection, or other blessing while happy is experiencing the effect of favorable fortune; having the feeling arising from the consciousness of well-being or of enjoyment; enjoying good of any kind, as peace, tranquility, comfort; contented; joyous. (Source)
  • Joy is the Greek word χαρά chará.
    • It is translated as joy and gladness.
    • Joy is defined as
    • The difference between joy and happiness. A good article is Difference Between Joy and Happiness, which is the source of the quotes below.
      • Both joy and happiness are positive and desirable emotions where a person has a feeling of being satisfied.
      • Joy comes from the inner-self of a person, and is connecting with the source of life within you.
      • Happiness is an emotion experienced when in a state of well-being.
      • Joy is from the inside of a person, while happiness is from an external source.
      • Christian joy is a fruit, not a work, of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23).
      • What God does is perfect and without error. His joy is much deeper and peaceful than any other.
  • It is the Greek word πειρασμός peirasmós.
  • In various senses
    • A seducing to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13, Luke 4:13)
    • A test of sinners of God’s mercy and patience. (Hebrews 3:18)
    • Trials, troubles, afflictions (Luke 22:28, Acts 20:19)
    • Here it is the troubles of living and being a Christian.
  • God has a purpose. God overrides the actions of certain unbelievers. (Romans 5:3-4, 2 Corinthians 1:9)
  • This word is different than the word trials above. It is the Greek word δοκίμιον dokímion.
  • It means to test. Did we learn what we were taught? (This passage and 1 Peter 1:7)
The results of testing=
  • God is the perfect teacher
  • We learn to a greater and greater understanding of knowing God, His beliefs, and His lifestyle in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds.
  • Faith is our commitment and response to what we have been taught.
  • Testing of our faith leads to endurance to be steadfast in our faith.
  • Endurance leads to maturity and completeness of our faith. Even the Lord Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
  • Is it lacking? Do we not understand or know how to respond?
  • We are invited to ask Him, who is the perfection of wisdom, for wisdom. In love and wisdom, He is our helper.
  • God does not become angry or rebuke us for seeking His wisdom. Even if we ask many times each day, He will not become angry. He loves us.
  • Believing God.
  • Expecting an answer because He has proclaimed it.
  • The warning is given us not to doubt to the extend we abandon the faith.
  • God is pleased when we believe Him. He believes us when we ask, so let us believe Him that He will answer. He doesn’t say when, but He says that He will answer.
  • Why does God allow troubles?
  • Why do many people not like Christians?
  • What is our response to troubles and testing?
  • How does God give us help?
  • When does His help (grace) come?

06 May 2019


James 1:1-8 WEL James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 My brothers, consider it all joy when you find yourself surrounded by various trials.
3 Know this that the testing of your faith brings about endurance.
4 Let endurance have its full, complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, then ask the God, who gives to all profusely and doesn't scold, and it will be given to him.
6 But one must ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 Do not let that person think that he will receive anything from the Lord.
8 A double minded person [is] unstable in every way.

Some translations have temptations instead of trials.
The Greek word is πειρασμός peirasmós (Strong’s G3986) and means adversity, hard things to experience, temptation depending on the context.
It makes no difference if the word is temptation or trial, because both are difficult experiences.
Can any good come from these trials/temptations?
Is not God in control?
The answer is “yes” to both questions.
The trial/temptation leads to endurance and completes in us more maturity. We also are faced with our true self instead of a facade. We may think that we can face anything because of God’s help. Now we know instead of think.
God’s grace is needed to overcome.

  1. Ask God to relieve, take away, this trial/temptation.
  2. Ask God, “What can you teach me from this?”
  3. "Thank you, for you grace to help me."
  4. "Give me wisdom to respond correctly."
  5. Then, rest in God’s care and go to sleep if it is bedtime.

Easier said then done, but God is faithful.

Paul writes it this way: Romans 5:3-5 NLT We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Peter writes on the same topic: 1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

John 16:33 NLT I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

1 Samuel 30:6 NASB Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

Psalm 62:1-2 NLT For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David. I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

20 June 2018

Grace for Every Trial

Theme: The Believer’s Strength

Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Objectives: (From the D6 Fusion Sunday School Lesson book)
Know: God’s grace and power are best displayed in our weakness.
Think: I will live with the assurance that God will give me the grace and strength I need for every situation.
Do: Learn to be content when facing difficulty, knowing God will use it for His glory and my good.

Out of weakness were made strong—Hebrews 11:34
Hopelessness is one of many weaknesses, but Psalm 39:7 CSB - Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.
Discouragement, bitter times? We can find our hope in God as Jeremiah did: Lamentations 3:14-25 GNB People laugh at me all day long; I am a joke to them all. 15 Bitter suffering is all he has given me for food and drink. 16 He rubbed my face in the ground and broke my teeth on rocks. 17 I have forgotten what health and peace and happiness are. 18 I do not have much longer to live; my hope in the LORD is gone. 19 The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison. 20 I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. 21 Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: 22 The LORD's unfailing love and mercy still continue, 23 Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. 24 The LORD is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. 25 The LORD is good to everyone who trusts in him.

Back to our Scriptures:
B1 Paul has listed in 2 Corinthians 11 the many sufferings he has experienced because he preached the Gospel.
B2 Now he advances some of the great blessings God has given him—revelations, that is, messages from God.
B3 He has reason to brag about how he great he is, but…
B4 He rejoices in his weaknesses.
B5 What a strange thing it is to boast in weaknesses.
B1 What is his most grievous weakness? (2 Corinthians 12:7).
B2 God allowed what to pester and cause trouble? Really?
B3 What is the main danger of pride in a Christian?
B4 Many have proposed physical ailments, but discuss the many possibilities this thorn could have been. Remember it could be physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, etc.
B5 Who is the messenger of satan? Can satan afflict us? Job 1:6-12 CSB - One day the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD asked Satan, "Where have you come from? " "From roaming through the earth," Satan answered him, "and walking around on it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil." Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? "Haven't you placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. "But stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse you to your face." "Very well," the LORD told Satan, "everything he owns is in your power. However, do not lay a hand on Job himself." So Satan left the LORD's presence.
B6 The word for torment in 2 Corinthians 12:7 is κολαφίζω kolaphizō and means to hit with the fist.
C1 Here are some of the verses that use this word:
D1 Matthew 26:67 CSB - Then they spat in his face and beat him; others slapped him.
D2 1 Peter 2:20 CSB - For what credit is there if when you do wrong and are beaten, you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.
C2 Have you ever felt that satan was punching you around over and over?
C3 How would something like this keep anyone from getting proud?
C4 Isn’t the Christian life supposed to be perfect, peaceful, happy all the time?
B7 Paul prayed 3 times to be relieved of this pain. Why was God’s answer, “No?”
B8 What was God’s answer? “But his answer was: "’My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.’"
C1 Are you weak?
C2 How will God’s grace help you?
C3 Remember there is no relief from this suffering, just God’s grace given in love to help.
C4 So how can we deal with illness, sorrow, loneliness, hopelessness, etc. and etc.?
C5 Remember, also, that this is what God told PAUL. It does not mean that it is to every situation or to every person.
C6 If we are being chastened by God for a known sin, we must repent and ask His forgiveness.
C7 If we are unaware of unconfessed and unforsaken sin, then perhaps it is a trial that God allows.
C8 Perhaps, you have made a bad choice and now suffer the consequences, or perhaps, someone else has made a bad choice with the resulting consequences affecting you or me. But God’s grace WILL be with you and me.
B9 How do we boast about our weaknesses?
B10 How do we find contentment? Paul faced weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties.
B11 Some commentators and translators understand the phrase taking pleasure in (εὐδοκέω eudokeō) to be contentment. Here are some pointers on contentment from the Apostle Paul:
C1 Philippians 4:11 NKJV Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
D1 Note the word learned.
D2 How do we learn contentment?
C2 Being content with what we have is a thing to be learned by the Christian. To learn something, we must experience it. Learning takes time and practice. God knows what He is doing. While we are learning, His grace will help us through the process (Philippians 4:13). Hebrews 5:8 NKJV [Jesus] though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
C3 As God, Jesus knew all things, but He had not experienced being a man. I might understand a lot about my dog, but I have never been a dog to experience everything a dog does or thinks. Jesus learned the experience does NOT mean He was ignorant of being a human.
C4 Being thankful for what we have is very important. God helps us. How does being thankful help us to be content? Remember, Paul was writing this letter from prison.
C5 Being content does NOT mean we are to stop learning Scripture, living a godly life, or learning truth, for we want treasure in heaven. Matthew 6:19-21 WPNT Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust ruin and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust ruins and where thieves neither break in nor steal; because where your treasure is there your heart will be also.
Next week:
B1 A prescription for blessings
B2 Theme: A song of wisdom
B3 Scriptures: Psalm 1