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Counted Joy

Daily Reading:  James 1


Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1.2-4)


Devotional Thought: There was a time in church history that the book of James was considered quite controversial.  Many wanted to exclude it from the Canon of Scripture.  (The Canon, finalized in the Fourth Century, is defined as “the set of religious writings regarded as authentic and definitive and forming The Church’s body of scripture.”) 


After his brief salutation, James jumps right in with – if not a "controversial" statement – then a difficult one.  "Count it all joy" when I face trials?  James, are you serious?  How can I rejoice when I face trials or when I am persecuted?  James provides the answer: going through trials develops steadfastness.  Then, you will “be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  This in itself is its own reward, but Jesus, when speaking of this same topic, indicated even greater reward: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake" (Matthew 5.11-12).


Are you struggling?  Persevere!  You will be a better person by having to apply yourself and by turning to the Lord to give you wisdom.  Are you having trouble in a relationship?Persevere!  Relationships both strengthen and sweeten as they grow in the crucible of hardship.  Do you have health concerns?  Persevere!  As your body experiences weakness, your soul is able to grow in its reliance upon God.  Are finances tight?  Persevere!  God is teaching you to trust him as your Resource.


Faith only grows when it is tested and applied.  Faith is applied when cause for doubt enters into our experience.  Trials are cause for doubt.  So rejoice in your trials.  God is building your faith!


Prayer: Father, though it is hard to say, thank you for my trials, for I know that you are perfecting me, bringing me to wholeness.  In my hardships, help me to remember that in you, I lack nothing.  Amen.


Psalm of the Day: Psalm 49:1-9

1 Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world,

2 both low and high, rich and poor alike:

3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.

4 I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle:

5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me—

6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?

7 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—

8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—

9 so that they should live on forever and not see decay.

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