Pray for revival in Switzerland. Christianity is receding due to expanding liberal theology. As Christianity recedes secularism and Islam are increasing.

Prayer Focus: Switzerland

Bible Reading: James 1-5

Scripture

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8 ESV

Observation

James’ letter feels like we’ve jumped into the middle of something.  A lot of the Bible feels that way.  James’ sat down to write this letter, introduced himself, and immediately says to count it all joy when you suffer and ask God for wisdom.  Maybe some other Christians were starting to ask questions like, “I’m following Christ, I want to be his servant, why am I still facing trials?”

James sets the stage rather profoundly.

First he uses the Greek word for slave to introduce himself.  In the ESV and many other translations it shows up as servant, or bond-servant, but in reality the Greek word here is for slave.  This reminds James’ and his readers that Jesus is Lord and Master and they are his slaves.  Yet, being a slave of Christ is to share in His glory because Jesus promised to care for us always, to be with us always, and to give us eternal life.

Second, James explains that these trials in life build us up and strengthen us and make us complete.  With each passing trial we recognize that we have all we need in Christ.

Third, James realizes that this might be hard to understand for many new Christians and once again he points them back to God.  Ask God if you don’t understand because God is more than willing to help you understand.  You have to appreciate…well, I appreciate…that James’ doesn’t sugar coat anything here.  He isn’t about to coddle a half-hearted believer.  So he says if you’re going to ask God for help, but then not believe His answer you’re double-minded and unstable.  I don’t think its far-fetched after looking at the Greek to say that phrasing basically means you’re insane if you think you know better than God.

Application

Trust God. I see this theme popping up throughout the letter where God’s people are trying to circumvent God by second guessing Him, favoring the wealthy, being impatient, and not turning to prayer in all things.

Look at this way:

If you lack wisdom, ask God and trust His answer.  Don’t just hear the Word of God, but trust it and put it into practice.  Don’t put your trust in the wealthy.  Don’t put your trust in a faith that has no works following it.  Don’t put your trust in your words.  Trust in God’s wisdom.  Trust that God is the one who judges righteously.  Trust in God’s timing.  Do not put your trust in your wealth.  Trust God’s provision and His promises.  Trust that God hears your prayers.  Bring a sinner back to God trusting that God will forgive them.

Trusting God is the key, but maybe the hardest thing for the Christian to do, but since we are God’s possession so it’s not just the right thing to do it’s our duty to trust God.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I want to trust you, but I keep getting in the way.  I owe you a debt that I can never repay and yet I keep wanting to do things my way.  Give me the strength and courage to set myself aside and let you take over.  I want to trust You, help me where I don’t.  Amen.

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