James-Count It All Joy

As I listened to a pastor on our local Christian radio station speak on James 1:2 I had an aha moment. The New King James Version of the Bible states James 1:2-4 this way: “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

It’s my understanding that as trials make us “perfect,” it means “mature.” The whole book of James is full of wisdom, akin to the book of Proverbs, but with four chapters instead of thirty-one.

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I knew a lady in her late 80’s or early 90’s. She came to our Bible study. One day she said, “I’ve been reading James 1. It says to count it all joy when going through various trials and temptations. Imagine that! We’re to count it all joy!”

I believe she was having a Rhema Word, when God highlights a Scripture to you, giving you a deeper insight. I’ve been reading Deuteronomy lately. Oh, the tremendous promises of God for those willing to love Him first and foremost and to obey His commands.

Then there are the curses that come upon people when they serve the false gods of the land the Israelites were about to enter. Sacrificing children to Baal by fire, worshiping gods made of wood, silver, or gold; and bowing down to the sun, moon and stars infuriated the God they could hear but not see. The God Who said He created everything, in Genesis 1 and elsewhere in the Bible.

And so, I hope you can count it all joy because of Jesus and the hope He gives if you’ll look to Him. During these times of quarantining and missing others who’ve chosen to stay away even when they’re healthy, with political upheaval, and civil unrest I hope you’ll seek Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He promises never to leave nor forsake us!

I was reminded by the radio show’s pastor to count it all joy when going through hard times. I needed to remember that and to ask God to help me not to lose peace and joy, for my sake and for the sake of those around me.

May God bless you!

Squirrel or Starling?

I looked out to the backyard and saw dozens of starlings swoop down to fill the grass and gravel. They pecked the wet ground looking for worms or grubs.

A lone squirrel frolicked across the edge of green and routed the birds.

When they swarmed together and lifted to flee, the squirrel scrambled closer to the house. I wondered if he knew he scared them off.

Seconds later, he sat on the porch steps railing with his tail placed over his head like a rain hat. The underside of his tail looked scrawny with a ring of fur around the skin. It reminded me of a new dust mop from a flim-flam salesman with lots of the fringe gone.

A thought crossed my mind. Are the starlings like demons, gathering together to wreak havoc? Are Christians like the squirrel? Christians carrying God’s light within them, do the demons flee from the light? Then the Christian completely unaware huddles in the rain, trying to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy in their own strength.

Watching the bright eyed little guy, before pondering theological things, I kept thinking, if I were a squirrel, I could tell the other squirrel to quit getting rained on and stop shivering in the cold. Come onto the porch landing under the roof. It’s warmer by the house than in the open air.

When I turned my mind to spiritual warfare, I got thinking of the Scripture in the Old Testament that say a small number of righteous people will send a large number of evil people running.

Lev 26:1  “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.

Lev 26:2  You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

Lev 26:3  “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,

Lev 26:4  then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Lev 26:5  Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.

Lev 26:6  I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land.

Lev 26:7  You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

Lev 26:8  Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Lev 26:9  I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you.

As I read further, God tells what will happen to those that disobey Him and worship false gods and make idols. Then, it’s the opposite. People will be afraid, crops will fail and enemies will overtake them. Yowza.

I also considered Elijah. He thoroughly defeated the prophets of Baal through God’s great power, and when the evil queen Jezebel threatened him, he ran away feeling defeated. He was hungry and exhausted, and that is exactly when the enemy of our soul will hit, when we are weak. God sent an angel to feed him. God showed Elijah that he was not alone. Many people believed in God like he did. It’s in 1 Kings 18 and 1 Kings 19. More and more of the Old Testament stories are being proved true by reputable historians of their day and by archaeological findings in our day.

After the days of Jesus, Josephus was an honored historian and he wrote of Jesus. Josephus was not a follower of Jesus, just an impartial observer.

Anyway, I hope this finds you blessed by God.