But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
“James, familiar with sailing on ships at the mercy of stormy waters, described doubt in those terms: “The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” Winds make the sea unstable. Waves move back and forth in a constant state of disruption. What wind does to water is what doubt can do to faith. Doubt will keep your life in stormy turmoil.
James 1:6 says we should pray with faith—with no doubting. He has just told us that trials and testing are God’s preferred method of training us into maturity. Then he lets us know we’re going to need wisdom in order to exercise joy as the training unfolds. We’re going to have to ask for it, expect it, and rely on it. If we don’t get God’s wisdom, we will end up“double-minded [and] unstable in all [our] ways.”
So ask God for the wisdom to identify doubt and turn away from it. Ask with the humble faith of the man who said to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24), and step forward with confidence and the promised presence of God.” (James McDonald, Walk in the Word).
Psalms 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.
Christian courage may thus be described. It is the undaunted audacity of a sanctified heart in adventuring upon difficulties and undergoing hardships for a good cause upon the call of God.
Some conceive our English word courage to be derived from cordis actio, the very acting of the heart. A valiant man is described in 2 Samuel 17:10 for to be a man whose heart is as the heart of a lion. And sometimes the original translated courageous may most properly be rendered “a man of heart.” Beloved, valour doth not consist in a piercing eye, in a terrible look, in big words; but it consists in the mettle, the vigour that is within the bosom.
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Notice that peace comes from God, and not our mind. Peace is the response of God to those who seek Him, for God’s presence places all of our circumstances in a different perspective. Our minds are prone to project the worst that can happen, but a mind that is steadfast upon God is confronted with the fact that God is in control. Renewing our minds with this reality causes trust, and that trust opens our hearts to peace.
commentary by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
The phrase “above all things” makes love first priority above all other virtues. We see the priority of love in other passages such as these:
I Corinthians 13: 13 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Colossians 3: 14 “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
Love is the most important virtue (Jn 13:34; I Jn 4:7,8; 3:14) and is indispensable for Christian relationships. Sacrificial love is the first order of importance of living out our relationship to others.
Love is more than simple emotional affection but a divine capacity to sacrifice self for others. This kind of love is at the very essence of the love of God (Jn. 3:16). The very essence of God is love (I Jn 4:8) for God loves us with an everlasting, an unconditional love. God loves without limit. Such love manifests itself in unlimited sacrifice for others.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The story of the blind songwriter Fanny Crosby who wrote more that 8,000 songs is a powerful example of a heart that refused to let the seeds of bitterness and unforgiveness germinate. When Fanny was only 6 weeks old a minor eye inflammation developed and as some tell the story, the doctor who treated her was a quack and the potion he prescribed resulted in her becoming totally and permanently blind! Talk about having a reason to be bitter! And yet this Spirit filled woman harbored no bitterness against the physician and was quoted as having said of him: “If I could meet him now, I would say thank you, over and over again for making me blind.”
Indeed Fanny Crosby considered her blindness to be a gift from God to help her write the 8000 hymns that flowed so freely from her pen. It was said of another blind hymn writer, George Matheson, that God made him blind so he could see clearly in other ways and become a guide to men. This same tribute could be applied to Fanny Crosby, who triumphed over her handicap and used it to the glory of God.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
We often read Jeremiah 29 like it is good news, plain and simple. But to the first people who heard those words, they were a tremendous disappointment. God’s people had suffered terribly. They had lost their land, their throne, their temple. Before Jerusalem fell in battle, the people had given in to cannibalism. They were then force-marched 800 miles and paraded (literally) through a pagan city in which they were now considered as the living symbols of the power of that city’s god.
It was into this kind of despair that Jeremiah offered God’s promise: “I know the plans I have for you … plans for your welfare and not for your harm, to give you a future and a hope.” They were not easy words to hear. Jeremiah promised that God had a plan that was certain and inevitable. But it would not unfold on Israel’s timetable. It would not simply undo Israel’s hardship. Yet the promise stood: God would fully restore His people and bring them out of their desperate situation, but He would not do it in the way any of them would have planned it.
Chris Blumhofer, Relevant Magazine
Verse of the Day: Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Where God had begun the work of grace, he will perfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him, help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In the strength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above the world. They shall run the way of God’s commandments cheerfully. Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If we go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall; but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. www.biblehub.com
“The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.” Gen 39:23
Are your circumstances far from ideal at the moment? Do you feel confined by them? Do you wish you were in a different job, a different place, or a different relationship? Whatever your circumstances, this passage shows that if you stay faithful to God you can experience His presence, His favor and His blessing right where you are.