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Summary: "Faith" is the very quality of life that Jesus smiled upon and God rewards, but what does a life of faith look like in real life?

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When Troubles Come

Series: Real Faith (Book of James)

Brad Bailey – June 23, 2013

Intro

I've found in recent years...that the more iI get to hear someone's story...the more amazed I am about the challenges people have risen up through in their lives. Everyone has a story... a story that includes some hard aspects in life. I have no doubt many are facing troubles even now.

Today….going to hear some of God's insight for when trouble comes.

We are beginning a summer series through the Book of James.

James is one of the smaller "books" after the four Gospels...towards the end of the Bible.

James was a half brother of Jesus himself. He and other brothers did NOT initially accept Jesus to be the Messiah...and their savior....likely simply because, like most, he didn't arise as the warrior king that leading a rebellion against Rome. James was not one of his 12 disciples. There is no mention of him at the cross with their mother. But we are told that Jesus came to him after the resurrection. When he saw him raised from the dead...everything became clear. James became one of the leaders in the early church in Jerusalem. [1]

So he begins...

James 1:1 (NLT)

This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings!

He now identifies as being a slave...or servant bound to God and to Jesus...who he now refers to as his Lord...and as the "Christ"....anointed one of God.

A public letter... to all those who were now scattered. In this letter he deals with the false ideas regarding what reflects real spiritual maturity...real faith. Real faith...that is the topic that runs throughh this book.

"Faith" is the very quality of life that Jesus smiled upon and God rewards. But what does a life of faith look like in real life? Is the favor of God reflected in those whose life is blessed with easier circumstances?....with wealth? Are those the signs of blessing and authority?

James speaks into the life of all communities about what REAL FAITH looks like.

Here we see the real faith that engages life's trials and temptations, social prejudice and pride, and the path to staying plugged into God.

James deals with faith in real life...and that is made clear in the first section….

James 1:2 (NLT)

"When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."

James doesn't take time trying to avoid the hard realities. He gets right to the hard and harsh reality that life has troubles. James does not say if troubles come, but when they do come. Expect them! Don't feel you have to live in despair....nor denial.

Those faithful to God are not exempt...they will experience the hard and even harsh realities of this world. The world lies in opposition to God.

James says we face troubles and trails of many kinds.

What kind of stuff was James talking about? He’s talking about all kinds of stuff. James uses a term that means “various” trials -- different kinds of trials, trials that come in all shapes and colors. The word he uses for trouble or trial (peirasmos) can refer to both external circumstances or internal temptations and struggles. In our experience the two can not be completely separated. When the circumstances that surround become difficult...it often causes struggles within us.

Your troubles might be financial. You lost your job and for some crazy reason you can’t find another.

Your troubles might be related to your health.

Your troubles might be relational... navigate some loneliness if not married... or some loneliness within your marriage.

- Some people’s hearts are broken by their children. Some children’s hearts are broken by their parents.

Some trials are the result of choosing to be faithful to God....some may be self-inflicted problems of our own choices....and some simply emerge from the condition of this world.

One of our best vacations was the Grand Canyon. The whole place was spectacular. But we were hoping to get a permit to camp at the bottom...so we could descend to the bottom...and we did. It took most of a day to reach the bottom. Made it down fine… but climbing out… 10 miles…was really a hard one. The last entire stretch is called “heartbreak ridge.” It's hard to keep your heart in it as the morning heat bears gets more intense and the steepness increases.

I thought of all the warnings they give.

 Noting 5 million come to Grand Canyon each year

 Only a few thousand choose to descend

• 400/yr rescued

o unprepared… water, proper clothing for temperature changes

o mostly lack of perspective… the descent makes it look so easy

> Thought how similar to following Christ in a life with God

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