James: Handling the Hard Stuff of Life
I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. The older I get, the less I plan ahead, for I know that self made plans go awry quickly. It’s less disappointing if I don’t plan too far ahead with great expectations of accomplishing the tasks…in my time. I need help. Where do I get that help? By sitting down first, in pj’s, with a cup of coffee and some cheerios and ask God for help…one day at a time. What do you see, Lord? How will I do the work before me? The task is always bigger than me, so I know You will help me. You always have and always will. This is how I approach God, in Jesus Name.
I have learned, over many years, to turn worries into statement of prayer to God the Father who knows what is best for me. I have learned that worry in the waiting on God only leads to physical and mental stress and that’s just silly. I have learned that when I am less stressed, comfortable and confident in my teaching, the students are also more calm, comfortable and confident in their learning. Mm. It only took sixty plus years to “get it” but I am understanding what God is saying. And, I’m still learning.
I am learning that trials come and trials go, but it is my attitude of prayer through it all that brings me to a deeper reliance on God with a determined resilience to living life well. Remember it is not God that wants to trip you up. That is not His way. We are the only one to blame for letting our guard down and letting evil have it’s way in us. So, when we fall, look up, take His Hand and let God help you up and set you straight. It is easier for Him to walk beside you when you are standing where He is.
Yes, James helps us to understand the hard stuff of life and how to raise the bar in our attitudes. Be humble. Ask for help. Help will be there. Count on it.
James 1, The Message
5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
Dear Heavenly Father,
In the good times, I praise Your Name and even in the bad times, I praise Your Name. You are always the same, unchanging, unrelenting, unconditional loving God through all the hard stuff of life. Thank you. Thank you for being there. Thank you for Your Holy Presence in our lives. We repent of worry and worship You alone instead. In Jesus Name, Amen