Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"It's Getting Hot in Here"

I must admit I started singing the song by Nelly when I was trying to think of a title for today's blog. I have been reading a book called Be Mature by: Warren W. Wiersbe. It is a study of the book of James. Can you imagine choosing something that caused you to be rejected by your homeland and by the land you have just moved to as well? I must admit I am no stranger to those feelings of rejection. They are VERY hard to control and VERY hard to accept and go on with daily life when you feel them. But as James spoke to the newer Jewish Christian that were scattered throughout the land, He wanted to give Hope to each of them and challenge each of them at the same time. These Jewish Christians were stuck between their old ways of legalism and doing things and the new way of living by Grace given to them through Jesus Christ. When you grow up in deep seated tradition, you carry a deep respect for your heritage and for some ways of doing things. At the same time this deep seated tradition can hinder you in some ways from finding who you really are and finding the answers you need from a life in Christ. You feel torn and don't want to disappoint or hurt anyone and at the same time you want to rip loose and create a whole new you. James encourages us to " Consider it all joy, my brethern, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." James 1:2-3 I must say that when I first began to read this passage, and I have read it many times, I just laughed and had a bit of cynicism in my heart. I mean... How could James ask me to consider it all joy! After all, he doesn't have a clue what my life has been like or what it is like now. But he does! I read further into the book and in the book of James and discovered that the issues of James' time are no different than today's world and today's church. James spoke to the Jews living outside of Palestine. They had been scattered. They were facing temptations. They were not living the life they so eagerly were professing. They were living to impress others. They were creating small wars within the church with the use of their words. They competed with one another for offices (standing) in the church. Many members of the church were poor and hurting and looking for the things of the rich. They believed treasure meant material things. Does this not sound like today's world as well? The more I read, the more the heat was turned up. It was getting HOT in here! The Words of the Father were convicting me. At the same time, Satan was trying to turn the heat up even hotter and get me to focus on all the trials I have had in the past and had recently. Warren writes in his book "Even if Satan does turn on the heat, your Father in heaven keeps His almighty hand on the thermostat!" Someone once told me that if I was having a lot of trials that it meant I was doing something right. It meant that Satan didn't like the fact that I was willing to fight on God's side now. We have to look within first and see our own hearts and the condition it is in before we can truly begin to understand how suffering is a gift and how heat only purifies us. God is in control no matter how hard things get in our lives. A while back I asked God to help me have compassion for certain people in my life that have always been very hard to love and hard to understand. Well when you ask God for something, be prepared for Him to begin working. Many test and trials began between me and those people. I spent a lot of time complaining about how bad things were until I began seeing the real person and the compassion God was teaching me to have. It was hot and painful for a long time because I made that road be longer than it had to be. I now know God has been and always be in control. Even in the worst of times.

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