This life is filled with a vast variety of blessings, setbacks, successes, and failures. Yet, in the wake of this, God tells us to consider it joy when we encounter various trials for the testing of the faith produces endurance. It can be difficult (often extremely difficult) in life's many deserts to hold on to faith. Like those whose names are Joy, being named Faith hasn't made maintaining faith easy. It is an ongoing sanctification process in that area. However, the temporal turbulence of this life will be for eternal spiritual gain for those who are in Christ. We can rest assured that God's word does not return to Him void. This article will cover a devotional of James 1:2-4.
A Small Note Before We Begin . . .
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"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" (James 1:2-4, NLT).
Breaking Apart the Reading
The book of James was written by James, the half brother of Jesus, and a leader in the Jerusalem church. It was written roughly around A.D. 49, before the Jerusalem council in A.D. 50. This book pulls from Jesus' many sermons while He was incarnate on Earth. It is a book of history and wisdom. With this said, the book enlightens what the Latin saying of "acta non verba" means. This phrase means "actions and not words." Likewise, James' message in his book emphasis actions holding more weight than words, that words spoken of without supporting actions are empty.
"This book attacks the notion that becoming a Christian is simply a matter of assenting to a few spiritual truths without experiencing any real change in behavior or thinking."The commentary was above written by publishers. Tyndale Publishers and Wycliffe Bible Translators. The Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Copyright 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013. Carol Stream, Illinois. Tyndale Publishers. Page 735, under the title "context" in the heading. Print.
This book attacks the notion that becoming a Christian is simply a matter of assenting to a few spiritual truths without experiencing any real change in behavior or thinking. Via commentary from the book of James from Tyndale Publishers on the Holy Bible, New Living Translation">
The above quote is a reminder that true conversion brings conviction and without conviction, there would be no legitimate way of living out the faith. When one is converted, they have a new relationship with sin. Without the ongoing walk in conviction and the sanctification process, we would merely be like the Pharisees who had an intellectual understanding of the scripture, but missed the true message of Jesus by 12 inches (the distance from the head to the heart) and had no inward conversion.
So many people profess to be in the faith yet live a lofty and flimsy life with no genuine change in behavior. God's presence brings conviction and if a person is not walking in the conviction it is safe to say that God's word does not abide in him/her and they are merely fooling themselves. James' call to action is dual-wielded, calling for self-examination to make sure we who profess to be in the faith are actually in the faith.
"Tumbling the Stones"
There's a devotional from a journal I read this morning entitled "Tumbling the Stones." It encompasses life's trials and how God uses the turbulence of life to work off spiritual edges. Below is the journal entry.
"If you've ever spent time beachcombing, you know that the stones that get trapped in between the big rocks often get tossed and whirled a great deal. So much so, that the edges get worked off, making them the smoothest of all. The colors and nuances and unique markings are accentuated. In other words, their beauty if brought out by the process of the constant stirring and abrasion--rock tumbling against rock. When you pick them up and roll them around in your psalm they fell like the shell of an egg. It's those stones that become part of your trove of little beach treasures. God uses the tumbling turbulence of our lives to work off our edges--those jagged, sinful, rebellious edges that keep us from being all that we were meant to be.
Being tumbled can be painful--stone hitting stone can't be all that fun--but the outcome will be holiness and loveliness of spirit. We will be treasures, brighter than diamonds, and more precious than gold. Pray that God can use your tumbling trials to bring out the beauty of your soul."How God Grows a Woman of Prayer Devotional Journal. Higman, Anita, and Leslie, Marian. 2016, Uhrichsville, Ohio. Barbour Publishing INC. Page 9 "Tumbling the Stones" entry. Print.
While the above entry was addressed to women, the life lesson applies to all. Only God can smooth out the spiritual edges and make us as fine as jewels.
We live in a world that is plagued by trials. Several trials of today (including but not limited to COVID-19, the rise in the persecution of Christians, apostasy, and antisemitism, riots, murder, adultery, etc) highlight our need for a savior and morals that point outside of ourselves. I encourage you reader to examine yourself. Are you in the faith?
For similar articles, please see the below publications.
- Pursuing Holiness
- A Fiery Slippery Slope
- The Attributes of God: Merciful Provider
- Into the Wilderness
- Prayer Defined
- COVID-19: Exposing Deep State Insurgency
- Eternal Wisdom
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Human Trafficking is Today’s Slavery
The numbers of the victims of human trafficking and the stories behind the numbers are why Blissful Faith is partnering with nonprofit organizations to help fund rescues and recovery programs for those entrapped in bondage. Each number is a person. You can be the one to help make a difference by purchasing a shirt (coming soon to the blog in a few weeks) or by ordering a downloadable product currently in the store, in which proceeds will go to nonprofits that seek to give a voice to the voiceless. See more on human trafficking from my previous articles below:
Blissful Faith started as a lifestyle and branched into a blog to help others hear about Jesus Christ and how they too can develop a blissful faith through knowing God. This blog’s purpose is to be an evangelical outreach to further the kingdom of Christ. Furthering the kingdom means stretching outside of the comfort zone, comprehending and working towards meeting the needs of others. Putting faith to action keeps it from becoming stagnant.
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Below is a link to other nonprofit organizations currently working around the globe to help aid those in bondage in human trafficking:
The Heart Cry
Below are stories from those rescued from human trafficking.
The link above shows the detail of a boy forced to work at a night club so his family could pay back a debt. He was repeatedly assaulted when he didn’t make enough money for his trafficker.
Website for the video above: Destiny Rescue
The Exodus Road Site: https://theexodusroad.com
Donation link: https://pages.theexodusroad.com/donate
Agape International Missions website: https://agapewebsite.org
Donation link: https://agapewebsite.org/give-monthly/
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