Look at James and Hebrews

James talked about enduring trials, but what kinds of trials was James talking about?  I found this in Hebrews and thought that it was applicable to what we are discussing.  It is important for us to understand that faith results in actions.  Sometimes these actions are quite sever.  However, going through these trials build us up in Christ and gives us the endurance needed to run our race well.  Below is a table that shows some people in the Old Testament who were tested.


Two things of note.  First, in Hebrews 11:29 the author briefly mentions when Israel crossed the Red Sea. Now something that may be overlooked in the casual reading of this little verse… each individual had to make a decision to trust God and pass through the waters.  Any one who would have stayed behind, even though they would be “elect” of God would have died at the hands of Egypt (the World system). Those who truly believed God and used that faith to move forward were spared death.  Without faith in God they would have never moved. 

  
Second is the entirety of Hebrews 11:35-40 shows the trials that others before us have had to go through.  These things they endured not only demonstrated their faith, but; gave a benefit for us. Without these martyrs we would not have examples of what faith looks like in action.  We would not have the benefit of being able to trust in the Lord without seeing the faithfulness of God in their sufferings.  We could even go so far as to say that without the trials of the faithful who have gone before us, we would not know God.  Why then do we go through trials.   

Hebrews 11:17-33

FaithWhoAction
By
Faith
AbrahamOffered Isaac in obedience of faith and trust in God
By
Faith
IsaacBlessed Jacob and Esau’s future trusting the promise of God
By
Faith
Jacob When dying Blessed his sons future trusting the promise of God
By
Faith
JosephCommanded his bones be brought out of Egypt; believing God
By
Faith
Moses’ ParentsHid him 3 months without fear
By
Faith
MosesRefused to be a son of the Pharaoh’s daughter
By
Faith
MosesForsook Egypt
Through
Faith
MosesKept the Passover in obedience through faith
By
Faith
Moses and IsraelPassed through the Red Sea in obedience through faith
By
Faith
Joshua and IsraelFell the Walls of Jericho by obedience to the Lord
By
Faith
RehabReceived mercy salvation
Through FaithVarious JudgesSubdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, etc… all through obedience in faith

Take some time this week to search out these examples and see what these saints did because of their faith.  If we believe that Jesus is the Lord and stand in that faith, then we will receive trials.  Trials are a good thing. Trials help us to grow and mature in our faith.  Trials help us to trust more on the Lord and his promises.  Trials help others to trust in the Lord and give an opportunity for others to learn how to respond in trials, and to encourage their own faith and endurance.

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Covetous Conversation: A Thought While Shopping

I was walking through Walmart about 2 days after Christmas, we needed some small food items, so I thought I would just kill some time while Dana Smith shopped. As I was walking I noticed a child and his mother, he was leading her by the hand and pointed to a toy that he wanted.

I thought how strange that this soon after Christmas they should be buying him a toy. Considering this I had to stop and evaluate my own reasons for looking around, when I really did not need anything. Was I too, just looking to consume something else that I did not need?

Then something else hit me. How often do I talk with others about things that I wish I had? How often do I look at someones car, or some other item for sell and say, wow I wish I had that? Maybe I don’t say it out loud, but I still say it in my heart. If so, then am I really believing that I have everything I could possibly need in Christ?

Covetousness can lead us into a form of idolatry. Idolatry is putting making a graven image (man-made) and making it more important than God. I know we all know the pitfall this can be. But let us consider the scripture on our words. 

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:5 KJV

You see our conversation reveals our hearts. Everyone knows this simple truth. If you have conversations with unbelievers or other believers and all you talk about is what you do not have, this is a tell-tale sign that you are not walking in the Spirit. It also tells others that either you are a hypocrite or that the Jesus thing is not all it’s cracked up to be.

We should guard our conversations. Lucky for us this verse shows us how to change our motivations in our heart. It says that we should be content because we know that Jesus said that HE will never leave us, or forsake us. This means that he is always looking out for our best interests. We can have confidence in him that we lack nothing that is needed. 

Let our conversations so reflect the satisfaction we have in Christ. Let our mouths speak of the great and wondrous things he has done in creation, and in our very lives. Delivering us through storms, trial, and temptations. He keeps us from evil, sparing our hearts and minds of guilt and anguish. He was the one who sought us out, to deliver us from death, and restore a loving relationship with him. Life and I mean all of life is ours in him.

Hebrews 2:1-3 Take Heed!

Hebrews 2:1-3 Take Heed!

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  For if the work spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” (Hebrews 2:1-3NKJV)

This is an earnest plea to reason.  God has spoken to us by His Son.  Jesus is the Son of God and as such has a direct line to the Father, like no other person in heaven or on earth.  He sits beside the Father and all the kingdoms of the earth and all authority has been given Him, by the Father.  The message he has given us is such an important message that we should take extra care to listen to what He said.  Here in Hebrews Paul is saying PAY ATTENTION!  God is doing something in our lives, in the lives of men.  God Himself directly intervened in the lives of everyone here!

Paul warns us, “Hey, if what the angels, and the Son of God Himself told us about EVERY thing we do or say will be held accountable then we need this salvation that is offered.  If even the very motivation of our actions, whether they be good or bad, is recorded for examination in court, then we need an attorney.  You know why, because the same ones who said these things also said that there is none good!  The cost for your salvation was so enormous, how can you not pay attention to the suffering endured.

Paul also gives credence to the fact that we should pray and study earnestly, “lest we drift away”.  There are false teachers that are in the “Church” today that try to tell us that “times have changed” and that the statutes that the Lord established in his Word are no longer relevant.  There are even some pastors who will water down the scriptures and tell you their own private interpretations so that they can justify sin in their own lives.  I know that some of you will not hear the things I am going to say.  But living in sin disrupts your fellowship with God.  Paul said being forgiven is not a license to sin.

If we become superficial in out prayer life, or in out scriptural studies we put ourselves in jeopardy of drifting away from our first love.  Even as Jesus said in the Book of Revelation, “Never the less I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2.4)  Jude also wrote that he found it necessary to encourage us to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1.3).

Folks the saints are us, we are the saints, saved by grace and set apart for the kingdom of God.  We are to fight for our faith!  Keep it and hold it close!  Strive with all our hearts!  Now I’m not saying be rude and stiff-necked.  I am saying study and be prepared to have an answer in love, for when you are confronted concerning your faith.  Stay away from TV and radio shows that encourage immoral behavior.  Society itself is drifting away from the One true God, because too many saints are keeping salvation a secret.  We have become, in large, ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  We have conformed to the world. Do the work you are called to do.  Be salt!  Now may peace and mercy and love be multiplied to you.  Amen