James 1:2-3 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

There are many stories about people who come out of life’s difficult situations, gang life, in and out of jail, drug addiction, broken families, and abuse of many kinds; yet with Gods people still seem to rise to the top. And of course, there are many stories of those who have been given everything they would need to succeed, only to wind up in the depths of a broken life. How you choose to respond to what life hands you says a lot about you and has a huge impact on your life. You can decide to either spend your life blaming your circumstances for problems or heartache, or you can learn from those things and move on to the next place in your life.

When James wrote his letter, he told people to “consider it joy when they face trials.” This is so contrary to our natural response. Joy? How can you consider it joy when you are robbed, raped, lied to, fired, are having marriage difficulties or friendship problems? James is not saying to pretend to be happy about a painful situation, but simply to have a Godly perspective and positive outlook believing you can learn from it and not let it drag you down in total despair. The only thing we have control over in this life is how we choose to respond. And how you choose to respond, especially under pressure, shows the depth of your character. Instead of complaining about your struggles or blaming your trials for the bad choices you make, look at them as opportunities to grow, not opportunities to assign blame for your times of trial.

Sisters and brothers I submit this word today for your consideration; be thoughtful each time you react to something that has happened or each time you make a decision. How do you react to others when life is going well?  What about when it isn’t? What can you do to work towards choosing the road of perseverance and hope instead of despair? Your answers to these questions will revolutionize your life for the good or bad in the days ahead. Remember Godly choices will always prove great value for you, your family, and relationships.

PrayerLord I thank you for the season of trial, because the season of trial serves your purposes in my life and the lives of your people. Have your way in our lives today and for the rest of our lives. The joy of the Lord gives us strength from day to day in Jesus name Amen!

Elder Baker

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