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Wednesday 04 September 2019 – Consider it Nothing but Joy

James 1:1  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2  My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3  because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4  and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. 5  If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6  But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7  for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 9  Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10  and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away. 12  Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

The writer of this letter addresses the divisions within the Christian community towards the end of the first century.  The writer uses the cultured Greek of the wealthy to address the widening gulf between rich and poor church members.  Those who think of wealth as a sign of God’s blessing are bluntly informed: Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field.

We who are so easily seduced by wealth, and so readily idolize wealthy people, need to hear the truth that the rich will “wither away”. Only those who resist the temptation of greed will discover the blessings of God (James 1:11-12). We discover our spiritual health when we relinquish our greedy pursuit of wealth and possessions. When we trust God “who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly” we are able to become generous, compassionate people (James 1:5).

Let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich”
Let the blind say, “I can see”
It’s what the Lord has done in me

Hosanna, hosanna
To the Lamb that was slain

“What The Lord Has Done In Me”
originally by Reuben Morgan: Hillsongs
Ordinary 19

41 Prayers and Promises

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 255.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day
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“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)