The Lord be with you all!
I would like to invite you all to our congregational reading invitational!
In the month of September our Sunday epistle lessons read in worship include four readings from the book of James in the New Testament. This reading invitational gives us the chance as a congregation to read through the WHOLE book – which, being only five chapters, is not a large task. But my hope is not to read a large amount every day (last year we read one whole chapter of Matthew a day), but that each day’s few verses will provide each of us with much spiritual “fodder”. This year’s readings will exchange quantity of text for QUALITY of study.
There are several ways in which you can participate and share in this spiritual journey through scripture. We have small group bible studies, sermons, but as well, we have this blog where we can share and discuss our thoughts and questions with each other! I will be writing a reflection each morning by 7 am (hopefully!) and I hope and pray that you can continue to reflect and share for the rest of the day – or whenever you get around to it! SO LOG ON TO THIS WEB SITE AND GET YOUR SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE/LIFT EVERY DAY!
Anyway, let us get started!
Our first assignment for the day is James 1:1-4!
A couple background notes if you don’t have a bible that has an introduction:
+ The overwhelming tradition is that the author of James is James, the brother (half, obviously) of Jesus! It would seem from scripture that he did not believe that Jesus was the Savior until after the resurrection, but later became the leader of the church in Jerusalem (you can check that out in Acts chapter 15)
+ James was executed in 62AD, so this letter would have had to have been written before then, but most likely it would have been written 48-49 AD, before the events recorded in Acts 15!
OUR TEXT IS:
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I frankly have a difficult time relating to these first verses because I have yet to face truly difficult trials. As a youth I suppose I “suffered” many trials that seemed to weigh heavily on my heart at the time, but looking back I realize that they were most likely nothing of much consequence. But I have to give credit to God because, even though they were not tragic, it very much WAS my trials that enlivened my faith and made it stronger. Sometimes today I even yearn for trouble in my life so that I might sense that more palatable presence of God in my life. There were those times when I felt SO close to God when I literally had NO one else to speak my heart to (or at least I thought so, anyway!) What a blessing those trials were – IN FACT! Praise God!