Thursday, October 26, 2006

*Wisdom for the Trials of Life & The Ways of God*

Not a single person on earth has ever lived a completely problem-free life. We may see someone's success and think, "He's so fortunate; he doesn't have a care in the world." We often forget that the Scripture describes life's trials as universal — we all face times of trouble.

2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. 6 But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.
- James 1:2-8

James 1:2 is a rather small verse. But, it contains tremendous insight into the issue of life's trials. First, it is significant that James uses the word "when". This defines the issue. Enduring trials is not a matter of IF, but WHEN.

Second, when he says we will "encounter" misfortune, James is implying that difficulties will occur unexpectedly. There may be no time to prepare for them.

Third, he uses the adjective "various" to denote the ever-changing, often surprising forms in which problems appear. James has a specific message he wants to get across: GET READY. Trouble is coming, so you must be prepared to handle it effectively.

"Effective" may not be a word you would use to describe your response to difficulties. Too often, we take a hit from life, back ourselves into a corner, and hope for the hardship to quickly pass us by. When we do this, we rob ourselves of the growth opportunity each challenge presents.

Read or listen to James 1:2-8 again. Then, pray for God to show you how to endure. Ask Him how to actually rejoice in your struggles. The Lord has a plan for your moment of hardship. Ask Him today what His purpose is. Then, work to accomplish it.


The Ways of God

God's ways are always perfect, and following them leads to fulfillment and success. One of life's undeniable truths is that your choices will ultimately determine your future. While you can decide for yourself what career field to enter or who to marry, nothing compares with seeking God first and relying on the wonderful principles of His Word. As you serve God and seek His ways, you'll be blessed with peace, wisdom, and guidance for the journey ahead.


When God puts a dream in your heart, when He brings opportu­nities across your path, do you step out boldly in faith, expecting the best, moving forward with confidence, knowing that you are well able to do what God wants you to do? Or do you shrink back in fear, and say, "That’s too big for me. I’m not qualified. I’m not able. I could never do that."

God wants to do a new thing in your life. But you've got to do your part and get outside that little box. Start thinking big!

Many people settle for too little. "I've gone as far in my career as I can go. I've hit the peak. I’ll never make any more money than I'm making right now."

Why? Your job is not your source. God is your source, and His cre­ativity and resources are unlimited! God may give you an idea for an invention, a book, a song, or a movie. God can give you a dream. One idea from God can forever change the course of your life. God is not limited by your education or lack of it. He's not limited by what you have or what you don't have. God can do anything, if you believe. He can do anything, if you will simply stop limiting Him in your thinking.

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