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Devotions for Life

The Luckiest Man

 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” (James 1:2).

 Actully, James 1 says we are to be happy in bad times.  How in the world is that possible? 75 years ago, Lou Gehrig stepped to a microphone in Yankee Stadium and gave his famous speech. A man who was afflicted with a fatal disease and announcing his retirement from the game he loved, said he was the “luckiest man on the face of the planet.” How can we do that? How is it even possible to have joy in trials? Gehrig’s speech offers 3 ways we can…

Don’t Make It Worse. Gehrig said folks had been “reading about the bad break I got.” This is a disease that greatly affected him his previous few seasons, had caused him to retire early, and would take his life at only 41. A bad break? Sometimes we dwell on a problem and make it worse. Gehrig was not using worldly wisdom, and neither should we. In the grand scheme of things, what difference do “things” make? His focus was not on his problem. He tried to…

Appreciate Little Things. Gehrig said that for 17 years he had, “never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.” Kindness and encouragement are little things that even professional baseball players cannot buy. Yet, those “little things” are so important in our lives. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we do not have because of a particular problem, that we fail to recognize what we do. Things like love and friendship mean so much. Which is why he also was able to…

Focus On Others. It is so easy for us to wallow in self-pity through difficulties. It is not only unhealthy, it is unproductive. It helps when we can focus on others. Those who serve others are generally the happiest people. Those who appreciate their relationships always consider themselves the most blessed. So, Gehrig talked about his teammates, manager, opponents, family, and wife. All of which he considered blessings greater than the trial he was enduring. We would do well to do the same.

In truth, James is not telling us to be happy because we have a trial. “Encounter” is the same word translated “fell” when the Good Samaritan “fell” among thieves (Lk. 10:30). It is translated “strike” when the ship struck the reef in Acts 27:41. We no more want to go through the trial than the ship wants to hit the rock or the man wanted to be robbed and beaten. Trials, though, are real.

 What we must do is lead our mind to consider the trial in joy: not because of the trial, but because of the end results of endurance and faith it can have on us (James 1:2-4). When we lead our mind to not make the problem worse, to appreciate little things, and to focus on others, we will be able to see the trial in the proper perspective. Then we, as Christians, can certainly echo Lou Gehrig’s closing line, “So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”

 Hymn: “Count Your Blessings”

 Father, help us to face trials and struggles in this life using your wisdom to see them as they truly are. May we focus on the outcome of being able to draw closer to you, knowing that you are with us in times of blessings and difficulties.   In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.   
 Corey Sawyers, Conifer, CO


Sin’s Despair

“Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37 NASU).

At some point in time a person’s sin will lead him to despair. At that time the sinner will do almost anything to hide his sin or take drastic measures because of his sin. Sin leads to despair. 


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Man’s Responsibilities

In view of Solomon’s warning in 12:13, 14 to “fear God and keep His commandments,” it seems prudent for us to consider the major responsibilities he has given man throughout the book.

 First, Solomon has instructed man to enjoy life. While many today have a “it’s all about me” and a “go for the gusto” philosophy, Solomon offers a legitimate reason to find joy in one’s life.  There is much to enjoy: food, companionship, work – but all based upon a positive relationship with God.  This theme occurs seven times in the book: 2:24-26; 3:12-13, 22; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7-9; 11:8-9. 


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