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Thursday, May 11, 2006

James Chapter 1 from "The Message" Faith Under Pressure

I love what Eugene Peterson has done with "The Message." I was just skimming through it and came across James, the first half of Chapter 1, and I just like the way this reads. It seems like today, more than ever satan is fighting with everything he has to destroy the kingdom of God. Luckily, we that are Christians know that satan has already lost the battle. But he keeps on fighting which is what we MUST continue to do ourselves. Just a quick look through the television channels, newspaper headlines, and internet searches you'll see how satan is using everyday people to destroy and try to muffle Christianity. Through judges making outrageous and absurd judgments because they're scared of groups like the ACLU. It's enough to make a person sick when we see whats happening in our country today. And its certainly easy to get discouraged when we look around at everything. And it doesn't look like its going to get any easier anytime soon. So thats why I love this letter of encouragement that James has written. Just read it through the interpretation of Eugene Peterson.

I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello!


Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

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 you options open.

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.

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.

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.

So, my 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.


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