November 20, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The God of Every Good and Perfect Gift”

James 1:12-18

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

Back in 2016, I fell into a deep state of depression that shook every foundation in my life. I had hit such a low point that I became adamant about changing every routine in my life just to see healing. One of those changes was running regularly. It was about three weeks into my new routine, however, when I went out for my run and I clumsily stepped hard into a ditch. I heard a pop in my hip and I was immediately on the floor in pain. (Later, I was diagnosed with a hip labral tear that would require surgery.) My honest thought at the moment was, “Really God?! I’m already in emotional pain. Now this!”

When trials come our way, one of the last things on our mind is to remain faithful and believe that at the end of it, we “will receive the crown of life” (v.12). Instead, we focus on our problems, we wonder why God would bring us pain, and we blame God, actively choosing sin as we try to make our own way. While exercising is not sin, I later realized that my decision to go running was my own; and in my distraction, I did not see the ditch that was right in front of me.

But today’s passage shows us that God does not tempt us, but we have a choice during our moments of trial to choose God or be tempted by sin. While it may be easier to be tempted by sin during our difficulties, we see that all sin leads to spiritual death, while our God offers every good and perfect gift. To receive the crown of life, we must choose every day and in every situation which master we will serve—God or sin.

There is more to this story (i.e., God’s healing) and I plan to share that tomorrow.  For now, remember that whatever you are going through in your life, may today’s passage be a reminder that every good and perfect gift is from above. God knows your pain, and your struggles are not in vain. Take heart for God has overcome to world, and He desires to lavish on you the crown of life!

Prayer: God, I thank You that every good and perfect gift is from You. Help me to see that in every trial and tribulation, that Your desire is not to harm me but to raise me up. Help me to choose You this day so that I may walk in faithfulness and away from sin. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 21


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 6:25-34: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does Jesus tell us not to worry?
  2. Who does Jesus associate worriers with?
  3. What are some of the things that worry you the most? Reflect on whether these worries come from desires that drive your life instead of faith in God.

Notes

  1. Because our Heavenly Father provides for all our needs.
  2. Jesus says that pagans worry about the needs of life, but as Christians, we are called to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

This morning we reflected on our Heavenly Father who provides every good and perfect gift; and in the afternoon, we looked at Jesus’ call to Christians to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness that it may go well with us.  The two are very much intertwined when we recognize that we are called to live a life of faith. Faith is what will allow us to endure trials, recognizing that it’s in our trials that God is doing a good work in us. And faith is what will allow us to recognize that God will provide for all of our needs. Take time to reflect on some areas that you are lacking faith, and ask God to fill you with hope and trust in this area. It is God’ desire that you would release the doubts, so that He may fill it with Truth. It all begins with a prayer of submission and release.

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