To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Testing of Your Faith 2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 5:14-20English Standard Version (ESV)
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
The past 40 days I have been reading a book with 5 other men. A book that would bring us together to discuss, text and especially to be in community with each other. The ages of these 5 men ranged from 25 to 60 and I am in the 2nd oldest range of all 5 of us. My Elder Brother and I were the oldest and two Elders that are equally yoked in Ministry and God's story. It has been both humbling and challenging to listen to, watch and see these brothers walk out their salvation with fear and trembling.
I am amazed at how each of us has our own story to tell and if we are really open about the power of God in our lives, just how amazing it is to watch His Spirit move through our lives and see Jesus through the love of others. The thing about these 4 brothers - they challenge me in being honest, being truthful and confessing when things don't always add up. It is not about a checklist or doing the things that make us look good and then deep down inside missing the whole point of God's Glory - The Word of God Changes Lives.
When we sit honestly and meditate on His Word then we realize that we are free - free indeed to be the me that God intended for each of our lives. I can never do good enough to earn the Salvation that Jesus gave us by His death and resurrection. God, our Father, gave His only Son to die for our sins - WOW! Let that marinate in your brain for a while! Think on that, pray on that and rest in his loving Grace.
The Word of God changes lives. What is your fruit. When others see you, hear you, listen to you and do community of you - when they are left to reflect on you - do they see Jesus in your life?
Our story is meant for God's Glory.
I was once lost, but now am found.
I was once dead (to sin) and now am a new creation in Jesus (i have been given a new life)
I am now adopted into his glorious family.
That is love.
That is something that I can wrap my head around and praise Him, serve Him and thank Him for all that is in my life - both the good and the bad. The trials and the tribulations. The pain and the suffering. Whether I know the reason this side of earth is not up to me to judge. There is only one great Judge!
PS - I was so moved by this 40 day process that I bought 3 more books and gave them to the men in my small group (come Holy Spirit come)