When Jesus Washes You
…Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet – ever!” Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.” John 13:8 [The Message Bible]
When Jesus walked the earth the best mode of transportation was walking. Sure there were animals and carts; however, walking really was the most economical way. And the best footwear was a sandal – a piece of leather for the bottom of the foot and straps to keep it on the foot.
Therefore, the feet got very dirty whether it was from the dust of the ground or the animal deposits that dotted the landscape. When you entered a dwelling there was always a servant or slave that met you with water and a towel to wash and dry your feet. In fact foot washing was an expected part of hospitality.
Since it was considered one of the most disgusting menial tasks and a slave or lowly servant was usually the one designated to do the job, we can understand why Peter wanted to refuse Jesus washing his feet. Jesus, his Master and the Son of God, is kneeling in front of him to wash the dirtiest, most disgusting smelly part of him. That’s why Peter insisted that Jesus was not going to wash his feet ever.
However, Jesus did this to not only give a clear picture to the disciples what servanthood/humility was, but He was also showing them spiritually that He was going to wash them and make them clean. By Peter not allowing Jesus to wash him clean meant that he would have no part of Him. Of course this prompted Peter to say, “ Oh Master, wash my feet then and my hands, and my head.” I like to think that Jesus sort of smiled at Peter and said, “I am not really concerned so much about your hygiene as I am about holiness.” Jesus was having a teaching moment with them on spiritual matters.
And as He talked He also washed the feet of the very man who would betray Him. This was why He said, “not every one of them was clean.” Even though He knew what Judas Iscariot was going to do, He continued to show him love and gave him the same words of wisdom. However, Judas had already made his decision and was closed to understanding.
Today, Jesus still continues to look for our smelliest, dirtiest bits in our lives. Now imagine Him kneeling down before you and me and washing away until He calls us clean. It’s a humbling thought, hmmm? BUT He did it and it continues for us today. It was His work on the cross that washes us clean. We just have to accept it. AND He continues to wash us with the water of His word. We just have to read it.
Imagine being Jesus' apprentice!
When Jesus saw His ministry drawing huge crowds, He climbed a hillside. Those who were APPRENTICED to Him, the committed, climbed with Him. Arriving at a quiet place, He sat down and taught His climbing companions.
Matthew 5:1, 2 [The Message Bible]
Apprentice: one who is bound by covenant to serve another person for a certain period of time with a view to learn.
In the 1700's & 1800's a young child became an apprentice at 14 years old or younger. They were bound body and soul to their master. They lived in the master's house and depended upon their master for handouts of food, a little clothing and possibly a few shillings; however, money was not always assured.
If you were apprenticed to a bad master, your life was filled with all sorts of abuse. You would be more of a slave and at the end of your apprenticeship there was no guarantee that you would be let go, or you could be thrown out for not reason at all.
If you were apprenticed to a good master, your were treated as a son or daughter and given great responsibility. In fact you may be sent in your master's place. You would represent him in whatever trade you may be apprenticing. At the end of your term on service, you would be given a great reward, possibly in money or a partnership with the master himself.
Now...imagine being an apprentice to Jesus. We are bound to Him by the new covenant of His blood and He is a great Master who shows kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness. He delights to be beside us as we work, showing us the correct way and giving correction when necessary. And while we are learning He provides for us, protects us, and gives us the means to succeed.
Our term of service is our life. At the end of our service, the great reward is life everlasting with Him in heaven, The awesome things is that even as we are apprenticed to Him, He allows us to help those apprentices younger than we are to grown anda become like the Master. And we want them to succeed just as much. This apprenticeship is a win-win situation so YES I can imagine being Jesus' apprentice because I already am one.
October 1, 2017
When we were born God didn’t make a mistake. In fact He designed us with a specific purpose in mind. Most times because of various circumstances or the environment we were raised in, we develop a personal vision of ourselves that does not equal the way God views us. We have read the mini biographies of different individuals within the congregation.
And we have discovered the many different experiences that have shaped the lives of each of us. Some have been good and some have been ‘not so good’; however, one fact has never changed with each and every one of us. What fact is that you may ask? It is that each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalm 139:14]. For too long we have listened to the lie of the enemy. The lie could have been spoken through parents, siblings, teachers, friends, employers, etc. And we have believed and took ownership of that lie.
Today it ends!
You my dear friend are a son or daughter of the Most High God. There is nothing or no one higher or greater than He is. And from the very beginning He knew you [Jeremiah 1:5]. Therefore, if He knew you then there is something precious about you. Within you is something of value and when He is allowed to have access to your life, it begins to come forth.
Who does God say you are?
He says you are cherished. What does that mean? It means He treats you with tenderness and affection. It means He holds you in His heart as dear. It means He will treat you in such a way that He protects you, sustains you and encourages you to grow in Him. Finally it means He provides a safe harbor where you can indulge in developing a deeper relationship with Him, where His ways and thoughts become your ways and thoughts.
Does it matter your age? NO! God is ready to show the very youngest to the very oldest how much He loves and cherishes them. Therefore, as adults we have the privilege to be spiritual fathers and mothers to the younger generation. Don’t let them miss out on what God wants them to see about themselves. We’ve heard the saying that, “it takes a village”. Well...it takes a church to raise the young ones to know how to enter into the presence of the Almighty.
Remember, we cannot teach if we have never experienced. Sure we can use the Word because it is more powerful than a two-edged sword. But can you imagine the deep impact if you are speaking from an eyewitness perspective.
Our children need us to guide and train them in the way they should go. Proverbs 22:6 says that if we do this then when they’re old, they will not depart from it. Imagine every child 12 years and younger lifting there hands, crying out to God and receiving revelation in their spirit. Imagine them truly experiencing the overwhelming love of God.
Let’s take it further...imagine the youth 12 and up excited for the things of God. Do you see them all raising their hands truly getting into His presence? What if they were literally the embodiment of 1 Timothy 4:12? Wow! Imagine the transformation of hundreds of young people just because our youth know who they are in God, and they boldly share their faith.
Therefore dear friends who are most treasured by God, arise today, enter into His throne room. Worship Him! Glory in His presence. Seek what’s after His heart...then put boots to the ground and walk confidently in who He says you are and the task He’s asked you to do.
August 27, 2017
I wanted to review Larry Saylor’s message last week. He began in 1 Chronicles 12:32 speaking of the sons of Isaachar knowing the times because they were astronomers, then he went to Joel 2:1, 2, 30-32 about blowing the trumpet in Zion and a time of unrestrained repentance.
At one point he charges us to change our sound because it prompts something to come down. Whew! That resonated deep within me. The words, true repentance and change your sound kept going over and over in my spirit. I immediately thought of the shofar. It is one of the oldest wind instruments for sound and is used now mainly during Jewish holidays, especially Rosh Hashanah.
What’s interesting is the process the ram’s horn goes through to become just right to be blown and thus producing its distinctive sound. Most shofars are made from the horns of a ram or a type of antelope. The horns are made of keratin; sort of like our fingernails but the inside of the horn has cartilage (flesh).
The flesh has got to be removed from inside the horn. Hmm! To get closer to changing our sound we have to ‘die to our flesh’. True repentance is doing exactly that. So, exactly how is the flesh removed from the ram’s horn? There are a variety of ways. It can be heated in an oven, or boiled out, or scraped out with a knife. Some even allow a year for the flesh to dry out before it’s removed.
Once the flesh is removed it is boiled or heated to remove any excess flesh, and to kill all bacteria. Oh! And while it is heated, it’s pliable enough to be twisted. Once it is in the shape desired, it’s put in a vice and drug through the fire again.
Ever feel like you have been drug through the fire? It’s seems like He is stretching you beyond what you can possibly bear? These trials or tribulations are not to make you fail at living a Christian life. They are there to mold you into the perfect shape [mouthpiece to be used by God]. There can be none of YOU left in you. When He sees you, He should see a reflection of Himself.
Now that the shape is the way it needs to be, water is run through to make sure there are no cracks. Cracks or flaws will cause the shofar to be unusable. We cannot allow open doors within our own lives that will cause us to be ineffective in our witness for Him.
The mouthpiece of the shofar gets the most attention and is in the fire longer than the rest of it. That’s why the mouthpiece is much lighter in color. You see, the pointed end is kept in the fire, and then its end is chopped or sawn off. BUT…It’s not ready yet! It now has to be pierced, which is done with a drill.
Oh man! Just when you think God is finished with you on something, He goes a bit deeper. What kind of sound will be produced from you? Will it be complaints? Will it be praise? Will it be encouragement to the body of Christ or will it be a word of warning? God is looking for a few good men or women who will allow Him to go deeper and pierce those areas that are not yet pleasing to Him.
Face it! When we want to go deeper in Christ, He wants to go deeper in us. That means He wants to shape our hearts and our mouths to speak only His words. We cannot do that if He hasn’t been allowed to work with us on exposing hidden things so we can be truly repentant.
The shofar is finally buffed until it shines. That means a sanding belt or sandpaper. Ever been around others that just rub you the wrong way? Yes? Then rejoice! They are helping you so that all of your rough edges will be made smooth so you will be a shining example of Jesus Christ to the world.
Do you want an encounter with the presence of God? Do you want the ordinary to become extraordinary? Then you’re going to have to change your sound. How do you do that? By allowing God to go deeper and truly repenting when He touches on those things that are not pleasing with Him.
It isn’t easy! It may get hot and uncomfortable in His purifying fire. It may be painful when He begins to pierce in places that we have tried to keep hidden. However, when He is finished we will be an instrument perfectly formed to sound forth His praises, His words, and His ways. James says to consider it all joy because the endurance of the process makes you perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. No flaws! Hallelujah!!!!
Week of June 18-24, 2017
Eliphaz Continues to Speak
Read Job 5:1-27
Here Eliphaz continues to speak to Job about Job's vexations or rather his frustrations. According to Eliphaz these things happening to Job didn't just spring up from the ground. It's quite possible that there is something about Job's character which may not be exactly on the straight and narrow. In verse 8 Eliphaz's advice is that Job should seek God and present his case to Him. After all, God does great and unsearchable things , wonders without number. And he continues through verse 16 about all the wonderful things God does.
In verse 17 Eliphaz says, "Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves or disciplines, and do not despise the discipline of the Almighty." And he continues to list the benefits of being chastised by God. Then he ends his whole discourse with: "Behold we have investigated it, thus it is; hear it, and know for yourself." In today's terms he was saying, "Listen to what I am telling you and apply it to your own situation."
Pretty much Eliphaz has judged Job based on what has happened and on the tirade Job had earlier. Though his words about God are truthful and sound, is he correct where Job is concerned? Just like Eliphaz we don't always know the full story. We can only judge on the surface level; therefore, we must carefully choose our words.
What if you find yourself in Job's situation and you have been given the advice of Eliphaz?
If you do find yourself in a similar situation be thankful you have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to help you. And remember no one else walks the exact same walk as you do before God. They may not understand. And this can get real lonely quick. Let's read Philippians 4:7.
And the peace of God. which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we have examined ourselves and we've done all we know to do, we stand! Even in the face of well-meaning friends. How do we stand? At peace! The Greek word for peace is [eirene ] which means rest; the end of strife; untroubled or undisturbed. This kind of peace surpasses or exceeds our comprehension. In other words, we can't logically understand this peace especially if we are going through a time of trial in our lives. However, it's this peace that guards (protects) our minds and hearts or rather our logical understandings and our emotions.
God's peace guards our hearts and minds!
Imagine if Job had these same words to hold onto as he went through his trial. What would his friends have said then? I am sure they wouldn't have understood; however, to the one needing the peace, it is like a breath of fresh air. Therefore if we are as Job, let us lean on the Word and draw strength from it. If we are as his friends, pray for that one going through the trial and speak the Word of God over them and entrust them in His care.
Week of June 11-17, 2017
Job's Friend, Eliphaz, Speaks
Read Job 4:1-21
Finally! Some words of wisdom from one of Job's close friends. At least we believe he is a good friend. Reading Job 2:11-13 we see that three friends actually made an agreement to come together to sympathize and comfort Job. That is very commendable and is something anyone would like to have in a friend. They even threw dust over their heads toward the sky and sat down with him and didn't speak a word for seven days and nights.
Then Eliphaz opens his mouth to speak after Job has his pity party. And I am sure Eliphaz meant well in his own estimation. He too believed in Almighty God and felt that what he spoke was truth. Let me pause here for a moment...
How many times have we opened our mouth and spoken our opinion in our quest to help a friend? Sure we know where to interject the right cliches, but have we taken the time to really pray for our friend in their particular situation? Has God given us the words to say or are we to remain silent and pray for God to speak to them? For some, it is hard NOT to speak their mind and for others God may have given you words to say but you're too afraid to. We can comfort in a variety of ways; however, be most careful in the words you speak because as you will find out through Job's friends, they can be words that can get you in trouble with God.
Eliphaz believed he was helping his friend through the words he spoke.
Job's friend begins speaking somewhat reprovingly: "If one ventures a word with you, will you become impatient?" Now he speaks right after Job has had his huge discourse in cursing the day he was born. It's kind of like Eliphaz slapped Job in the face and said, "Listen here, I got something to say but the way you're acting if I say something, you'll bite my head off." Okay so Job wouldn't literally do that...but Eliphaz may have been right in how he viewed the possibility of Job's impatience.
Eliphaz reminds Job that he [Job] has admonished many, strengthened weak hands and feeble knees, and his words have helped the tottering to stand.
Then comes the rebuke: "Now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?" Wow! He just laid that one right out there. SLAP! Then Eliphaz continues... Now I am sure he gained momentum at this point. Job hasn't stopped him and the other two friends might have been nodding their heads in agreement. He was feeling that what he was saying was right in Job's case. True there was an element of truth in what he said; however, his delivery seemed sort of judgmental.
We cannot pass judgment unless we are walking the exact same path or have inquired of the Lord.
Then Eliphaz says something that makes me wonder. In verse 12 he says that a word was brought to him stealthily amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night. Dread came upon him and trembling and all his bones shook. A spirit passed by his face and the hair of his flesh bristled up. My first thought was: is this a demonic spirit? Then I remembered that when Abraham fell into a deep sleep in Genesis 15 terror and great darkness fell upon him. The things of God were rather terrifying especially to those that lived before Christ came.
After all, consider what was whispered to Eliphaz by the spirit: "Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before His Maker?..." Back then all they had was insufficient animal sacrifices. Today we can praise the Lord because now we can be just and pure before God. We no longer have to dread or be filled with a dark terror. Jesus came and paid the ultimate price and when we accept Him as our Savior...cha-ching...we are back into right relationship with our Creator.
As in Job's case, it is good to be reminded that God is the Supreme Source of all things. Not one thing created whether in heaven, and on earth or under the earth is greater or equal to Him. Therefore, no amount of good works will justify us nor will just trying to live right make us worthy.
Week of June 4 - 10, 2017
Job Curses the Day of his Birth
Read Job 3:1-26
Wow! What an inspirational text! Umm, NO! In fact it is quite morbid and a huge self 'pity party' by Job. But seriously tell me...who has not had a pity party of their own at one time or another? Does it make it okay that we can have one because; after all, we're human?
Let's review all that has happened to Job within a day or two. He lost everything he owned, his children, and now he has boils. So, what exactly are boils? They are skin abscesses that develop red infected bumps on the skin that are sore, filled with oozing pus, and can get big. They will itch, cause fever, and will generally be highly uncomfortable. Sure I can understand Job's lament.
It seems like what he is going through is so much more than any decent human being could endure.
As you read the passage you can see that as far as Job is concerned the day he was born should be shrouded in darkness. Frankly, he wished that he had died at birth. To have been born and then met with such calamity is more than Job could bear. No matter how much he wished something or cursed his day of birth, it didn't change his circumstances.
Pity parties never change the circumstances or make one feel better.
They actually add to the misery already present.
Interestingly enough he makes a statement in verse 25 that reveals a bit more about Job's inner turmoil. We know from the previous chapters that Job was an upright man of integrity and made sacrifices to God; however, he did have fear that seemed to plague his thoughts from time to time.
He said, "For what I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me." (happens or come to pass) What does this tell us? Yep, he has thought about the very things that have happened to him and has been so afraid that it would happen. It has...now what?
There are things that we sometimes fear in life and can be so gripped with it that it can paralyze us from going further in our relationship with God.
How do you unblock that fear? You face it!
Job didn't have a choice. His fear had come front and center and literally slapped him in the face. How did he confront it? He had a pity party and decided that his day of birth was a curse and he was no longer worth having around. Too bad Job didn't have the words in Isaiah 41:10 to comfort him:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will surely strengthen you, surly I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Neither did he have the words from Jesus found in John 14:27:
Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, not let it be fearful.
Dear friend you have the blessed and truthful word of God at your disposal to help if you fear or are in trouble. We can take comfort in His words and be delivered; therefore, we should not have a pity party when the King of all kings dwells within our hearts and has given us not only His word but His Holy Spirit.
Week of May 28 - June 3, 2017
The Attack Continues...
Read Job 2:1-13
Once again we are given a glimpse into a heavenly conference-like meeting where the sons of God present themselves before God. Satan comes again and presents himself before God. The Lord asks where he came from and Satan replies that he has been roaming about on the earth and walking around it. Once again God asks him if he has considered his servant, Job. Then He goes onto say that in the midst of such loss, Job has held fast to his integrity.
One thing we must be cognizant of is that Satan hates human beings. We were created in the image of God and because we succumbed to temptation and handed over the title deed of earth to him, he considered us weak. Now that Jesus has reclaimed the title deed, Satan works even harder to insure that man will totally turn his back on God.
Therefore, Satan's reply is not surprising when he suggests that Job would curse God to His face if he was to lose his health. And God believed Job would still maintain his integrity. He told Satan that Job was in his power to do what he willed; however, he had to spare Job's life. Satan could only do what God allowed him to do. As soon as the meeting was over, Satan immediately went and struck Job with sore boils from the crown of his head to his feet.
In verse 8 we find that Job was sitting among the ashes, which signified desolation and ruin. And his wife is angry with him. She doesn't understand how he can still hold fast to his integrity after all that has happened and now here Job had boils. She told him to, "Curse God and die!"
His reply is evidence of the kind of man he is: "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity?"
It's always easy to love God and FEEL peace and contentment when everything is going well. But let a bit of hardship come and we find ourselves asking, "Why me, God?" Then again we may get angry and blame God for the upset in our little bubble of happiness. IT'S NOT FAIR! What we neglect to realize is that the trial or hardship is actually for our good. It molds our character to become more like Christ. AND we have the Holy Spirit to help us.
Poor Job! He didn't have the Holy Spirit living within him. Instead he had a wife who wanted him to curse God and at the end of the chapter he had three friends who came to sympathize with and comfort him. When they saw how bad things were they tore their robes and threw dust on their heads and sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word.
Hmm! Job's friends! Needless to say they will be a topic of discussion soon; however, let's revisit this whole character-building concept of adversity. We can start by looking at James 1:4 [And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.]
We understand from last week's devotion that endurance is the product of the testing or trial. It is also not surrendering to circumstances but doing so without murmuring, anger, or discontent. Now here in James 1:4 this endurance is to have its perfect result. In other words it is not to be morally lacking; not defective; or to leave nothing wanting. The work will come to a conclusion and it is to be complete and without flaw. WHY? So that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. You guessed it...this endurance becomes a part of our makeup, our character.
Ah-ha! That's why we were told to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. We are just in the middle of character building. And that my dear friend is why we shouldn't get angry with God or whine and complain. He wants us to learn endurance and have it become who we are.
Week of May 21-27, 2017
Satan Attacks - Job's Response
Read Job 1:13-22 and compare how Satan attacked Job with what Job was blessed with by God.
1. Blessing - Job has seven sons and three daughters. Attack - [Verses 18 & 19 - ALL the sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's home when a great wind struck the four corners of the house and it fell on the young people and they died.]
2. Blessing - Job has 7000 sheep. Attack - [Verse 16 - The fire of God fell from heaven and burned the sheep and all the servants with them.]
3. Blessing - Job has 3000 camels. Attack - [Verse 17 - The Chaldeans raided the camels and took them all and killed all of the servants with them.]
4. Blessing - Job has 500 yoke of oxen and 500 female donkeys. Attack - [Verse 14 & 15 - The Sabeans attacked and took the oxen and the donkeys and killed the servants.]
5. Blessing - Job has many servants. Attack - [In each of the losses many servants are killed except one which went back to Job and reported what happened.]
Everything was taken from Job in ONE day. The final straw was when Job hears of his children getting killed in verses 18 & 19. He immediately gets up , tears his robe, and shaves his head. What he does next shows that he truly respects and loves God.
He falls to the ground and worships!
His words were, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." In the middle of all his tremendous loss, he does not sin nor does he blame God.
My question is: Can you worship God even in the midst of your most difficult trial?
Many times we tend to blame Him and complain to Him or whoever happens to be around. We place ourselves in the victim position. When trials come we have to look at them correctly no matter how unjust they appear to be. Is it easy? NO! However, to keep everything in the right Godly perspective we must make every effort to do so.
With that in mind let's re-examine James 1:2 [Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,] OR as we rewrote it: Examine with all attention and rejoicing my brother or sister in the Lord when you suddenly or unexpectedly meet different or several temptations (experiences).
Now let's give attention to James 1:3 [knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.] This verse gives the reason WHY we should consider it all joy when we encounter various trials.
In the original Greek the word (testing) means a criterion by which anything is proved or tried. Your faith is your belief. The result of this testing produces something - endurance. In the Greek, the word (endurance) means patience or the quality that does not surrender to circumstances. It is quite interesting that endurance is also patience because patience is bearing the offense or not surrendering to circumstances but doing so without murmuring, anger, or discontent.
Hmmm! Job didn't have James 1:2, 3 to comfort him. He was a Biblical example of the product - endurance. He didn't surrender to his circumstances without murmuring, discontent, or anger; instead, he worshiped. Can you do the same?
To Be Tested
After last week's study we find that Job was truly a man of integrity. And because of his actions and his moral and spiritual stability we are given a glimpse into the spiritual realm and are privy to a conversation between God and Satan. Take a moment and read Job 1:9-12. God has just asked Satan if he had considered Job and then proceeds to declare the good things about Job.
Satan acts like a petulant child in his response. Can't you almost hear his whiny cry..."But Gooood! Does Job fear You for nothing? I mean You have a hedge around him, his house, and all that he has. It ain't fair. Then to top it off you have blessed the work of his hands and now he is rich. But I'll bet that if You take it all away that Job guy will curse You to Your face God."
Of course I have taken liberties and paraphrased Satan's response in how I imagined his response would be.
The case Satan was arguing was that if God took everything away from Job then Job wouldn't be this man of integrity and moral goodness. God is so sure of Job's character that he allows Satan to shake things up in Job's life. In fact Satan is given permission to touch all that Job has; however, Satan was not allowed to touch Job himself. This seems to satisfy Satan so he departs ready to wreck havoc on poor unsuspecting Job.
As you read Job, what is the first natural human response?
-"You have got to be kidding?"
-"Well, this really doesn't seem right or fair."
-"Glad I ain't Job."
When 'stuff happens' we tend to whine, cry, pout and get mad. What should our response be? Do you remember James1:2-4?
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Consider it all joy: to consider means to examine with attention
joy means rejoicing; good cheer; mirth
In other words: Examine with all attention and rejoicing.
my brethren: refers to those who are brothers and sisters in the Lord
When you encounter various trials: the word when lets you know that trials are going to happen. Encounter means you meet it suddenly or unexpectedly. Various means different, several. Trials comes from the noun peira meaning experience. The meaning depends on who tempts. If it is God, it is for the purpose of proving and not causing someone to fall. If it is the devil then it's purpose is for us to fall.
Let's rewrite verse 2 with what we know of these words
Examine with all attention and rejoicing my brother or sister in the Lord when you suddenly or unexpectedly meet different or several temptations (experiences).
What does this mean for you? Glad you asked because when trials or temptations come our way we should examine them carefully as well as our hearts to see where we are with God. What we are suddenly experiencing may be for our character development. Therefore rejoice!! You are becoming more like Him.
Pick apart the words in verse 3 and 4 of James 1 and find the truth of what His proving, like He did with Job, will benefit us.
Consider My Servant Job
Have you ever read the book of Job and thought...is this guy deeply depressed or what? True he received a double portion at the end of the book but look at what he endured and the frustration in his questions for God. Even his friends were not much help.
Do you kind of feel like Job?
Let's take a moment and read Job 1:1-8. After reading, what do you know about Job?......
1. Job lived in Uz.
2. Job was blameless, upright, feared God, and turned away from evil.
3. Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters.
4. Job had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and many servants.
5. Job was considered the greatest of all the men of the East.
6. Job offered burnt offerings for his children in case they may have cursed God in their hearts.
Wow! With just this small bit of information we can see that Job was truly a blessed man.
**Note** Even though Job was a man of integrity with moral and spiritual stability, he was NOT perfect.
Then one day in heaven there was a meeting with the sons of God and Satan came among them. The Lord asks Satan a question, which was what? And then what was Satan's response?
God's response to Satan's answer was, "Have you considered My servant Job?" Then He proceeds to list Job's good qualities..."For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
Why did God pick out Job from among the men in the earth at that time? We have the Holy Spirit today to help us and guide us in this world. Even with the power of the Holy Spirit to help you, would God pick you out to be considered?
As you contemplate these questions remember the truth of James 1:2-4 and next week we'll look further at Job's dilemma and pull out the juicy pieces of James that will give you strength as you stand in the midst of your own trials.
Stand still and know that the battle belongs to the Lord. You will not fall because He has you in the palm of His hand.