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Summary: This message deals with four tools we can use from the book of James to get us through times of trial and persecution.

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FOUR TOOLS WE NEED TO MAKE IT THROUGH TIMES OF TRIAL

JAMES 1:1-8 JAMES, A SERVANT OF GOD AND OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES SCATTERED AMONG THE NATIONS: GREETINGS. 2 CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, MY BROTHERS, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, 3 BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE. 4 PERSEVERANCE MUST FINISH ITS WORK SO THAT YOU MAY BE MATURE AND COMPLETE, NOT LACKING ANYTHING. 5 IF ANY OF YOU LACKS WISDOM, HE SHOULD ASK GOD, WHO GIVES GENEROUSLY TO ALL WITHOUT FINDING FAULT, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO HIM. 6 BUT WHEN HE ASKS, HE MUST BELIEVE AND NOT DOUBT, BECAUSE HE WHO DOUBTS IS LIKE A WAVE OF THE SEA, BLOWN AND TOSSED BY THE WIND. 7 THAT MAN SHOULD NOT THINK HE WILL RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM THE LORD; 8 HE IS A DOUBLE-MINDED MAN, UNSTABLE IN ALL HE DOES.

INTRODUCTION: A YOUNG MAN APPROACHED THE FOREMAN OF A LOGGING CREW AND ASKED FOR A JOB.

“LET’S SEE YOU FELL THIS TREE FIRST” SAID THE FOREMAN. THE YOUNG MAN STEPPED FORWARD AND SKILLFULLY FELLED THE LARGE TREE. THE FOREMAN WAS IMPRESSED AND SAID TO THE YOUNG MAN: “YOU CAN START ON MONDAY.”

MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY CAME AND WENT. ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON THE FOREMAN CAME TO THE YOUNG MAN AND SAID: “YOU CAN PICK UP YOUR PAY-CHECK ON YOUR WAY OUT TODAY.” STARTLED THE YOUNG MAN EXCLAIMED, “BUT I THOUGHT YOU PAID ON FRIDAY!” “THAT’S RIGHT,” SAID THE FOREMAN, “BUT WE ARE LETTING YOU GO TODAY BECAUSE YOU HAVE FALLEN BEHIND. OUR DAILY FELLING CHARTS SHOW THAT YOU HAVE DROPPED FROM FIRST PLACE ON MONDAY TO LAST PLACE TODAY.”

“BUT I WORK REALLY HARD,” SAID THE YOUNG MAN. “I ARRIVE EARLY, I LEAVE LATE AND I EVEN WORK THROUGH MY BREAKS. PLEASE DON’T JUST FIRE ME.”

THE FOREMAN KNEW THIS TO BE TRUE, AND SENSING THE YOUNG MAN’S INTEGRITY, STOPPED AND THOUGHT FOR A BIT. THEN HE ASKED: “HAVE YOU BEEN SHARPENING YOUR AXE?”

THE YOUNG MAN REPLIED: “NO SIR. I HAVE BEEN WORKING TOO HARD TO TAKE TIME FOR THAT.”

IN ORDER TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE THROUGH OUR LIVES A FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, WE NEED TO HAVE OUR TOOLS SHARP MORE THAN WE NEED TO HAVE OUR LIVES BUSY.

TRANSITION: I WANT TO GIVE YOU FOUR TOOLS TO HELP YOU THROUGH THOSE TIMES IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU ARE BEING TESTED BY TRIALS.

I. TOOL #1 HAVE A JOYFUL ATTITUDE JAMES 1:2

a. WE NEED A JOYFUL ATTITUDE

i. IT IS COMMANDED BY GOD

ii. GOD NEVER GIVES US WHAT WE DO NOT NEED

iii. GOD NEVER COMMANDS US TO DO WHAT IS NOT ESSENTIAL

b. SINCE JOY IS A COMMAND

i. MY ATTITUDE TO THIS COMMAND OF GOD (AND ANY COMMAND OF GOD) IS IMPORTANT

ii. MY ATTITUDE DETERMINES MY OUTCOME

ILLUSTRATION: JOHN MAXWELL, ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS, HAS SUMMED UP THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTITUDE THIS WAY, “WE CHOOSE WHAT ATTITUDE WE HAVE RIGHT NOW.” AND “YOU CAN’T BE A SMART COOKIE WITH A CRUMMY ATTITUDE.”

c. THE KIND OF JOY GOD EXPECTS CAN ONLY BE HAD BY DEPENDENCY ON GOD

i. ALL JOY

ii. PURE JOY

iii. GOD IS THE SOURCE OF JOY


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