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Showing posts from August, 2015

6 - RECALCULATE TEMPTATIONS

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For us to see the opportunity in adversity we must recalculate our expectations.   What is God doing in prayer?   What do expect Him to do?   Perhaps what you expect of God in the trial is not what He expects of you. We must also recalculate our situation.  Our situation may change, but God never changes.  The good and the bad of my life circumstances is not indicator for the way God feels about me.  Don’t misinterpret your lack of health or lack of finances as a lack of God’s love.  It doesn’t equate. Finally, to see the opportunity of adversity we recalculate temptation.     Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceive

5 - Recalculate Your Situation

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Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.  (James 1:9-11 ESV) To help us see the opportunity of adversity we must not only recalculate our expectation (namely for how God answers prayer), but we must also recalculate our situation. A lot of times we gauge God’s opinion of us based on the stuff we have in our lives.   I am healthy.  I am blessed. I am sick.  I am cursed. I was promoted at work.  God loves me. I lost my job.  God hates me. A situational faith is fickle. James chooses wealth to expose our miscalculation of the situation.  The wealthy person believes that he or she must be doing something right because they have so much.  A false pride and sense of security develops.   The poor person belie

4 - The Opportunity of Adversity - Recalculated Expectations

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If we know God is working even when the situation is unwelcome, and we know that we are most changed when we are most challenged, then we must conclude that adversity is not a drudgery; adversity is an opportunity.   This is why James calls for us to “count it all joy (1:2).” Easier said than done, right?  Why can’t we count it all joy?  Why is it so hard to see the opportunity of adversity?   MISCALCULATION The reason we can’t see the opportunity of adversity is because we “can’t count” we miscalculate. From 1:5-18 James calls for us to make some recalculations.  We need to recalculate three aspects of adversity: expectations, situations, and temptations . Recalculate Expectations One thing I can say with a fair amount of certainty, when times get tough, people pray.  When we pray, we do so with a fair amount of expectations.  Those expectations, unmet, often lead to frustration. Why isn’t God answering my prayer?   Expectations go unmet.  We feel as if faith has

3 - It’s All in What You Know - You Are Changing

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Count it all joy, my brothers, 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, lacking in nothing.   (James 1:2-4 ESV) Yesterday we said that we can count it all joy in the trail because we know that God is working even when a situation is unwelcome.  According to James 1:2-4, there is also joy in knowing a second truth in the trial. We are most changed when we are most challenged. If you have ever worked out in a public gym, scenes such as these should be familiar. The problem is that most of the people who become the hilarious spectacle known as the epic gym failure are usually wearing the nicest gym clothes.  They look the part - often a little “too much.”  They speak the language.  They drink the shakes.  They have mastered “the grunt.” They sit on all of the equipment, but they have no idea how to use it. What ensues is

2 - It’s All in What You Know - God is Working

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Count it all joy, my brothers, 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, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4 ESV) Count it all joy?  Seriously? When life drops it is hard to see the joy. You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, joy? The pressure at your work is difficult to bear, joy? You and your spouse hardly talk, joy? There is too much month at the end of the money, joy? 1st century Jews of the dispersion who have fled for your life from intense persecution, are you having fun yet? Joy? According to James, it’s all in what you know. According to these verses, we know two things in the trial We know that even when the situation is unwelcome, God is working. The verse refers to “trials of various kinds.”  The trial is an unwelcome situation.  Money issue.  Physical issue.  In the case of the first readers of James,

1 - Lifedrops

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Whether you are a smartphone lover or a hater who only has one out of necessity, we all share a common fear, THE DROP.  In an instant your $600 window to the world becomes a useless piece of shattered glass.   The company Lifeproof has created a successful business by manufacturing what has become a necessary accessory to the smartphone - protection.  Lifeproof makes no technological contribution to your device; instead Lifeproof helps your phone do the one thing your phone does not do well - LIFE. The people at Lifeproof know what is coming at your phone - YOU.  Drops.  Toilets.  Kids.  Sweat.  Dogs.  A lonely, lost overnight stay in the last place you set it down - in the rain.  There is no app for that. James writes a letter to a group of Jewish Christians in the 1st century who started well.  If you heard them speak the language of faith, you would detect no issues with the lingo.  But they are suffering a serious life drop.  Dispersion.  They are being persecuted.  They