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Hebrews 13-James 1: Facing Trials with Joy and not Fear

fearI guess James 1:2-4 stands out to me right now because of our nation’s perilous perch on financial failure. We haven’t heard as much over the past few weeks since the bailout, but that was no more than a band-aid. A government bailout cannot fix America’s financial follies. It can only prolong the inevitable if business practices steeped in debt do not change. The great fear is another depression. What an amazing trial that would be. 

What if it does happen? 

We as Christians can count it all joy. Why? Because we know that the test of our faith will only serve to produce endurance and steadfastness. That will only make us stronger. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I lie awake at night praying for a depression. I don’t want to go through one of those anymore than anyone else. I’m totally unprepared for such an occurrence. But perhaps a testing such as that would be good for us. For Christians, it won’t be the end. It will merely be another time in which we can learn to more greatly rely on God. The more we rely on God, the stronger we will be. The stronger we are, the more we can accomplish for God’s kingdom, which is what is most important anyway.

Don’t fret the future. Just take it one day at a time. However, if the trial comes, lean on God and grow from it. The fact is, it is only the challenged who grow. The complacent who have it easy rarely do more than languish in their mediocrity.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

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November 10, 2008 Posted by | Encouragement, Finances, James, money, relying on God | , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 8-9: Blessed to be a Blessing

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

II Corinthians 9:8-12 (ESV)

God has not blessed me so I can hoard what I have been given. Certainly, as Ecclesiastes taught, I am allowed to enjoy my blessings. But, I must remember that the main reason for which God has blessed me is so I may be a blessing to others. 

This is not the health and wealth gospel that performs good deeds selfishly only to receive more. No. This is the true gospel that points out God entrusts more to those with whom He can actually trust more. So often, we want and want and do not have because we only want for ourselves. We will be amazed how much God will bless us if we simply become channels for blessings to others. 

Of course, when I am not selfishly concerned about what I have and only about how I can help others, if God is not blessing me with something, I’m still content. The question is not how much I have, but how am I helping others.

I know this is tough to remember when every newspaper and television show is warning us that the sky is about to fall in financially. But this is God’s will for us no matter what our nation’s economy.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Blessing, Christian Living, Daily Bible Reading, II Corinthians, money, Sacrifice | , , , , , , | 5 Comments