Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: How do you handle problems that come up? Here’s a sermon using a true story that helps us see that God can turn bad experiences into something good.

When Life Hands You A Hot Pepper

Make Tabasco Sauce

James 1:1-12 Used 02-23-03

[1] James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

[2] My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

[3] Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

[4] But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

[5] If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

[6] But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

[7] For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

[8] A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

[9] Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

[10] But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

[11] For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Today, I want to tell you the true story of Edmund McIlhenny

Edmund McIlhenny was a prosperous farmer in Louisiana

Edmund McIlhenny operated a sugar plantation

and a salt works on Avery Island, Louisiana.

Life was great for Edmund and his family.

But then the Civil War broke out.

Yankee troops invaded the area in 1863,

and McIlhenny had to run for his life.

He had to leave behind his plantation and salt business.


How do you deal with life’s curve balls?

What do you do when life hands you a lemon?

Someone has suggested,

"When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade!"

That’s a great thought!

But how can we do that?

How do we turn lemons into lemonade?

The book of James contains 4 requirements

for turning lemons into lemonade.

Requirement #1.


Verse 2

[2] My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

The Greek word translated "count" is hegeomai,

It means: to appreciate, to view, or to consider.

It suggests careful study

with a desire to understand

and come to some conclusion.

It focuses on the course and the outcome of the trial.

The word “temptations” could better be translated as…

“Trials” or “testings.”

God never tempts us to commit sin or do evil.

He does allow “testings” for a purpose.

1 Peter 1:6-7 says:

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

You see, we really don’t know how strong our faith is…

Until it is put to the test!

You don’t know how strong your Christian character is…

Until it is put to the test!

How strong are your abilities to love…forgive…be kind?

How strong are your abilities to be faithful to Jesus?

The answers come in testings and trials!


Let’s get back to the story of Edmund McIlhenny.

Well, the Civil War finally came to an end.

When Edmund McIlhenny returned home in 1865,

He found that his sugar fields and salt works were ruined.

The Yankee soldiers had burned off the fields.

Buildings and equipment were destroyed.

Life was going to be very hard for the McIlhennys.

How would Edmund handle this situation?

Would he give up like many Southerners did?


There is no way to experience joy in a trying time…

if we only think about the developments in the trial.

But if the outcome is going to be favorable,

then we have a good reason for rejoicing.

Hebrews 12:11 says:

[11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

The process may be hard to rejoice in,

but the outcome gives purpose to what must be endured.

Therefore, every trial must be considered

in view of its potential benefit.

That leads us to the second requirement.

Requirement #2


Verse 3

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Patience is the ability to actively and energetically persevere,

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