Take 5 (January 11-15, 2016)

take5

Caleb Korth • Pastor of Contemporary Worship Ministries

Monday: Joy In the Midst of Trials

James 1:1-8

Is it really possible to have joy in the midst of trials? James was writing a letter to the early church to encourage and instruct them. One of the areas that he touches on is the area of trials. The believers in the early church had encountered many hardships and difficulties. Some were thrown in prison, others beaten, and then there were those who were killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. They also had to deal with many of the trials we encounter today, like financial needs, health problems, and the loss of a loved one. How could they really face these adversities with joy? How can we face our current problems with joy? The only way we can possibly face the trials and difficulties that come our way is with Jesus. With Jesus, we can face trials with an everlasting and undying hope; and, with Jesus, we can have joy in the midst of the storms of life. So is it possible to have joy in the midst of trials? Yes it’s possible…with Jesus.

For Today: Trust Christ to get you through your next trial.

Tuesday: What Lasts?

James 1:9-12

Technology is a fascinating thing. There are always new developments being made to improve the quality of life. At one time, believe it or not, the 8-track was cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology! Technology is always changing, and it seems that nothing lasts more than a couple months before it is outdated and replaced. God places importance on how we live, not on how much we have. One of the things that God values is perseverance. God will reward those who “persevere under trial” with a crown of life. What is valuable to God should also be valuable to us. Perseverance is not the easiest thing to practice, especially when we are facing trials. The great thing is God doesn’t leave us out on a limb by ourselves. He is there for us, encouraging us through His Word to persevere through trials and live our lives for what will last.

For Today: Thank God for always being by your side.

Wednesday: Resisting Temptation

James 1:13-18, 4:7

This passage gives us the progression of sin. It goes from the very beginning stages of temptation all the way to the end result that sin has on mankind: death. There are countless examples of those in the Bible that were tempted; some gave in: Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and David with Bathsheba gave in to lust. Others resisted temptation: Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife, and–the greatest of all–Jesus resisted Satan. Giving into temptation adversely affects not only our life, but the lives of those around us. Think about it: Adam and Eve’s sin affected all mankind. Here is another thing to think about: Jesus was tempted in all areas like we are and did not sin, making Him the perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins. Let’s focus on the example of Christ by resisting the temptations that come our way.

For Today: Ask the Lord to help you resist temptation.

Thursday: Quickly Listen

James 1:19-21

Rush, rush, rush! Deadlines! Due dates! Demands! It seems that the world in which we live in is always so fast paced. In today’s Bible reading, we find there is something that we should always be quick to do: We should be quick to listen. Listening takes the focus off of self and puts it on other people. The first person we should be listening to is the Lord. Two things that we should be slow with are speaking and getting angry. God desires for us to live righteous lives. He wants us to live lives that honor Him in everything we think, say, and do. Our assignment today is to find a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday life, and get alone with God. Let’s take our Bibles and go somewhere where we can read and listen to what God is saying to us through His Word.

For Today: Take time to listen to God and others today.

Friday: Listening and Doing

James 1:22-27

Yesterday, we focused on listening. Today, the focus is on doing. “People vote with their feet” is a phrase that many of us have heard, and it’s true. Our words can only travel as far as our actions take them. How much would we trust God if He never backed up His Word? One of the many reasons that we can trust God completely is because He backs up what He says with action. When God says that He loves us, it carries with it a great weight of sincerity because His action to back that up was the sending of His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. Just as parents desire obedience from their children, God desires obedience from those who are a part of His family. We serve a wonderful, faithful, and loving Father; and one of the ways to show our love to Him is by living out His Word in our everyday lives.

For Today: Let others see Christ in your actions.