Monday, February 29, 2016

My Quiet Time from James 1:1-18

I have been largely away from my blog for about a year.  My apologies  Part of that absence was due to the distraction of other projects, and part of it was pure lack of inspiration.  Lately, I've been wanting to get going again, but I was still lacking in ideas.  One idea that has struck me is the concept of doing a personal study of a passage and interspersing the given scripture with my thoughts that came to me as I studied.  Some of the thoughts are random.  Some of them are meaningful.  You might get something from it, or you might find it ridiculous.  Who knows?  If you are curious, the first example is below.  Let me know if you want more.  Anyway, I hope to be reviving this blog with a variety of material.  I hope you welcome my return.
My Quiet Time (James 1:1-18 NIV)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, (This is the same James who was the brother of Jesus—likely one of the brothers who came with Mary to “collect” Jesus when they thought he was off his rocker.  Now, he considers his brother to be his LORD, and he is his servant.  When you really see Jesus for who he is, it changes you and the course of your life.)

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (Probably one of the harder expectations from scripture.  No one enjoys difficulty.) because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (Kind of like exercise ‘tests’ the strength of your body, and then causes the body to develop more stamina.  The more you ‘test’ your body, the stronger and more perseverant it becomes. When your faith is tested, if you don’t quit, you become stronger in that faith.)  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  (Reminds me of an old Geometry teacher I had.  She demanded I come ask for help, but when I did, she berated me about my ‘Mickey Mouse mistakes.'  God, however, doesn’t consider any question to be stupid.  No ignorance is worthy of abuse.  You ask; he gives help.)  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (Kind of like Peter, who walked on water, but began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to think about his own human frailty—If you trust God, you can expect help, but if you put your trust in yourself and doubt God, then you bounce around like a buoy in a hurricane.  Been there.  Done that.  I think I have a t-shirt somewhere.)  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (When Peter began to sink, Jesus reached out and pulled him into the boat.  But, we never heard about Peter walking on water again.  Hmmm.)

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. (The first shall be last and the last shall be first.  This is so counter to our culture.  Wealth can bring distraction from reliance on God.  In essence, we become poor in our faith and humiliate ourselves in the wake.)  But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.  For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.  In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. (Trump?  Perhaps he is like Nebuchadnezzar, whom God blessed through Daniel, and whom also was taught great humility through God’s discipline.  Regardless of the electoral outcome, I need to trust that God will rule in the end.)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  (Hang in there!  The retirement benefits are out of this world!)

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.”  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. (I’ve heard the saying, ‘the Devil made me do it.’ Well, as it turns out, no, he doesn’t.  We do it to ourselves.  The Devil might facilitate the process, but it is actually our own ugliness that grabs onto our minds and keeps prodding until we fall victim to our own temptations.  Take responsibility for your own faults.)  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  (Thank you, Lord, for your grace.  As David said, ‘my sin is always before me.’ And…’restore to me the joy of my salvation.’)

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, (I may work hard, but I need to remember who brings the blessings in my life.) coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows. (Our culture may change drastically, and we can adapt our methods to reach that culture, but we should be careful to remember that God himself does not change.  What he loves, he loves.  What he considers sin, is sin.)  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (Though God made all of creation, from the smallest microbe to the lofty galaxies, he still has taken special notice of us and lifted us up before his eyes.  We are his special possession.  His adopted children.)

1 comment:

  1. Thx for the read Mike.. I enjoyed it. Will look forward to more.. bill s.