So... in trials and temptations, the LORD has gone before us to prepare a way for us.  What will our answer or our response be to the trials we face?

Dear Sister---
Fill up your cup and join me now as we look at this passage together. [Those of you who do not know me, I use that word coincidence (and hold my hands to form a cross) on purpose when I am telling of an incident where we meet the Lord or His plan---a "co-incident" ---the horizontal meeting the Vertical!] I pray that our Heavenly Father would help us this day---that we would see incidences of "the horizontal meeting the vertical" and to press on to the high calling of the Lord Jesus, to be joyful, and to make melody in our hearts to the Lord.  That He would help us to be a sweet offering today, knowing that He is working in all things for our ultimate good.  It is in Jesus' name that I pray, amen.

James 1.2-4
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

It's interesting, this word joy has the same Greek root as the word 'greeting' in verse one. "...count it all joy..." So, when we fall into diverse temptations, are we to 'greet' them? Are we supposed to be thankful, cheerful, exceeding glad? Try it... today, (and you probably won't have to wait long) when you are tempted (Greek;  peirasmos: temptation, discipline, provocation, a putting to proof) purpose to handle that temptation in such a way as to acknowledge that it is a testing of your faith, and receive it with JOY. Count it all joy! Another interesting thing to consider: count it all joy... when I think of counting, I think of numbering or figuring something. Have you ever thought to count or figure out the different aspects of a difficult situation when you were undergoing that situation, temptation, or trial?

Does that mean you will be glad if your freezer goes 'out,' or if a baseball flies through and breaks your window, or you have no money with which to pay a large bill, or you get a dreaded answer from the Doctor, or someone smashes your car, or you get raked over for saying something for which you were totally misunderstood or out of line (even if it was true)? Do you, or did you shrug it off and say "No problem-o!" Of course not, but how you handle or respond in a 'test' will be a direct reflection of your understanding of the Ways of God; and it will be in proportion to the amount of discipline you have worked into your life. This may seem very harsh to have this kind of thing said, especially in regard to, say, receiving news of a death, or burned down home, or cancer... but stop for a moment, think of it this way: you have a gracious, loving, Heavenly Father who knows you better than you know yourself, who cares for you more than you could ever care for yourself, and who is working all things together for your good since the foundation of the world, and He would not permit something to happen to you that would be out of His scope or plan for you. Knowing this and trusting this, do you think you could learn to count it all joy when you fall into _______________ (fill in the blank).

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." I remember watching a Bruce Wilkerson video one time, and hearing him say various things about faith, trials or testings, and patience. And one thing that I have always remembered from that series, was that generally, we do not realize we are in a test until the test is 'underway!' Think of it this way... today if you walk into your home and see that a child has drawn with Sharpie pen all over the freshly painted living room wall, your insurance has just been cancelled and your husband tells you that he will need to be working all the weekends till the end of the year, and someone had just rejected you for being a Christian, and sharing your opinion... You WILL react in some way or another, but probably you will not realize you are in a 'testing of your faith' until AFTER you have reacted. You may be in the midst of yelling and having a fit over the wall incident and suddenly realize that you are being tested, and your hearers are learning a lot about your heart. So, this test and your response during and after will determine how you will react the next time. It will fortify what you are building into your life!

Matthew 5.11-12 "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Your subsequent or future testings will work 'patience.' And there is a planned purpose for this patience---Our gracious Lord has planned and allowed all these things to conform us to His image---that we may be perfect, (complete) wanting (or lacking) nothing!  The Lord knows the aching places of your heart and is ever working for your good. Think back on the last couple of days... Are there some situations that you reacted to in a less than gracious, joyful way? Do you see that those situations, temptations, testings, were all allowed by the Lord to work in you patience---that you may be 'perfect and entire, wanting nothing.' So, today: you have opportunity this day to count it all joy! What will you choose?

Blessings to you, In Jesus---pamela spurling


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