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James 1:1-12
Stephen Caswell  ©2003
Trees With Deep Roots
Several years ago a man reported his observations of the effects of a hurricane on a southeastern Gulf Coast town.
As he walked up and down the ravaged streets, he observed the palm trees had been uprooted and flung about.
Once tall and majestic, their root systems were too shallow to withstand the hurricane force winds.
But as he proceeded, he came upon a lone oak tree.
The leaves had been blown away and some of the smaller branches ripped off, but the roots had gone deep, and the tree held its position.
And in due season it would again produce leaves.
So it is with us.
If we are to endure in times of great stress and difficulty, we must beforehand have put down a depth of character that will sustain the blows of the trial.
Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker that reads: /When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!/
It is easier to smile at that statement than to practice it, but the basic philosophy is sound.
In fact, it is biblical.
Throughout the Bible are people who turned defeat into victory and trial into triumph.
Instead of being */victims/*, they became */victors./*
James tells us that we can have this same experience today.
If we are going to turn trials into triumphs, we must obey four commands: */Rejoice/*, */Recognise/*/,/* /Remain/* and */Request.
/Firstly,/ Rejoice
*James 1:1-2:* /James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
My brethren, *count* it all joy *when* you fall into various trials./
The Afflicted/
In verse 2 James encourages believers to have the right attitude toward trials.
James wants us to rejoice.
James readers were suffering for their faith.
In verse 1 we see that James wrote to the 12 tribes */scattered/* abroad.
*Acts 8:1b, 3-4:*/ At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all *scattered* throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
Therefore those who were* scattered* went everywhere preaching the word.
/Because we are God’s scattered people and not God’s sheltered people, we must experience trials.
We cannot always expect everything to go our way.
Some trials come simply because we are human.
Things like sickness, accidents, disappointments, even seeming tragedies.
Other trials come because we are Christians./
The Attitude/
The key word is */count/* h&geomai.
It means */to think,/*/ *regard, to look upon.
*/It is a financial term that means */to evaluate./*
Our */outlook/* determines the */outcome./*
As believers we need to recognise that God will allow trials to come our way.
James doesn’t say */if/* you fall into trials, but */when/* you fall into trials.
Various trials will come our way.
And God allows them to.
*2 Timothy 3:12 says:* /All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution./
Paul’s Example
We can’t stop trials coming but we can choose to have the right attitude towards them.
In/ /*Acts 26:2 *Paul says this: */I think /*/myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews./
The word */think/* is the same word translated count in James.
Paul wasn’t afraid or disappointed about standing before King Agrippa to be judged.
He was happy to.
Paul saw it as an opportunity to testify for Jesus Christ.
He recognised that God was in control and had arranged his trial.
Therefore Paul chose to be happy in his trials.
It was this attitude that enabled Paul and Silas to sing praises to God in painful stocks inside a prison.
Paul writing to the Philippians says this in *Philippians 4:4 says:* /Rejoice in the Lord always.
Again I will say rejoice.
/This explains why the dedicated Christian can have joy in the midst of trials: /he lives for the things that matter most; *He lives for the Lord.*/
Job’s Example
Although Job had lived a godly life he still suffered  greatly.
He lost his family, wealth, health, friends, and standing in the community.
Yet in the midst of his suffering he maintained the right attitude.
*Job 1:20-21:* /Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshipped.
And he said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Corrie Ten Boom
/ /
Corrie ten Boom in /The Hiding Place/ relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful.
She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck.
On entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested.
That morning, their Scripture reading in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances.
Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters.
Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted, and Corrie finally succumbed to her pleadings.
During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference.
It was not until several months later that they learned the reason the guards would not enter the barracks was because of the fleas.
/ /
/ /
/Do you rejoice when trials come your way?
Or do trials discourage you?
Do you think that God has forgotten you?
That He isn’t concerned about you? /The to rejoice is to recognise in trials that God is in control; *like Job did.* */The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away blessed be the name of the Lord./*
/Will you determine to *rejoice* always?/ /Will you count it all joy when you fall into various trials?
*God wants us to Rejoice because He’s in control!
/ /
/Secondly,/ Recognise
*James 1:3:* */Knowing/*/ that the *testing* of your faith produces *patience.*/
Recognise God has a Plan/
James wants us to know something about trials.
Believers need to */recognise/* God’s purpose in sending trials our way.
God has a plan for us.
He wants to conform us to the image of His Son.
To do this God uses trials.
They */test/* our faith to see if its genuine.
*/So, trials are really working for us, not against us./*/
They are an important part of God’s plan.
*He allows them for our good.*/
He knows what He’s doing.
God loves us and trials are one of His blessings.
Looking At A Tapestry
/Maybe you have visited a shop that sells tapestry’s or floor rugs?/
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