Summary: Trials that test us will toughen our faith if we don’t allow temptations to trip us up. Trials from without and temptations from within are no match for the Christian who stands in truth from above.

Persevering Through Trials

February 2-3, 2019

James 1:1-18

Rev. Brian Bill

A man who filed an insurance claim was asked for additional information from the company. Here’s his response.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of the accident I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found that I had about 500 pounds of brick left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of brick.

You will note in blank #11 of the accident report that I weigh 135 pounds. Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull, and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were 2 knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind, and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of my pain.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel then weighed approximately 50 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in blank #11.

As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and lacerations on my lower body area. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks, and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks, in pain…unable to stand…and watching the empty barrel six stories above me…I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope. The empty barrel weighed more than the rope, so it came back down on me, and broke both my legs.

I hope I have furnished the information you have required.

That’s the definition of a bad day, isn’t it? Some of you are going through a barrel of problems as it feels like bricks have broken you into pieces. You’re at the end of your rope and you’re just about ready to let go.

BTW, the workday on Sunday afternoon was incredible. Over 80 servants showed up, and as far as I know, no one got hurt. I worked so hard that I had to lie down on a couch. Good thing I woke up before a couple guys took me into the storage trailer! When I came into my office someone had rolled up my Green Bay Packers rug. When I left that afternoon, someone had decorated my car and wrote “It’s Snow Time” on the trunk. There’s just no respect for the clergy.

Some time ago I received this email: “Why does it seem some people just can’t get a…break? It isn’t right and it isn’t fair to those of us who are trying to start over…why do things always have to happen to my family? I mean I know it’s just not mine but…did I do something to deserve this? I just want to give up…I want to fight…I want to run…I hate this.”

¬¬This person is not alone. Check out this Word Cloud Vikki Huisman put together from the January prayer requests - health concerns, healing, family, surgery and prayers are foremost on our minds.

Most of us hate going through hard times.

We’re beginning a new series from the Book of James called “Faith Works.” This book is extremely practical and filled with wise sayings, similar to Proverbs. Likely the first book written in the New Testament, James wants to make sure right beliefs get translated into right behavior, that our conduct matches our creed. We’re called to be doers, not simply hearers. In just 108 verses, we’re given 54 different commands.

If you’d like to do some supplemental study on James, you could attend the Berean Sunday Growth Group at 9:30, use the February Bible Reading Plan or Today in the Word Devotional, or watch Francis Chan’s study on RightNow Media. You can find links on Sermon Extras.

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