James 1:4 “An Active, Strong, Challenging Response in Your Faith” by Jen O’Sullivan

An Active, Strong, Challenging Response to Your Faith
by Jen O’Sullivan

James 1:4 (ESV)
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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The words James uses are specific to that time period and are more precise in meaning than our translation. For example, in the above text the word Steadfastness, or the Greek word hypomone, means an active, strong, challenging response in ones faith.

To put it simply, maturity in my faith is a product of testing.

I am impatient and have difficulty waiting for anything to be complete. My desire for steadfastness is huge. I long for the day when I no longer crumble under this intense pressure from my choices. My knees buckle literally under the weight at times. This steadfastness that I am enduring is definitely a strong, active, and challenging response to my test. I long to be complete and steady, settled in my understanding of God’s will and my own lack to control it. Let us continually ask God to be refined in His fire! Just like gold and silver in its purest form.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Saturday Scripture ~ Silently Stunned (Isaiah 25:9)

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” – Isaiah 25:9 ESV

One of my all-time favorite things to think about is the day when I get to see Jesus. What a day that will be. I cannot decide if I imagine myself shouting for joy with arms lifted as high as I can or will I be awe-struck, silently stunned, barely able to glimpse his face as mine will be firmly planted on the floor. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!!!

Maranatha!

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.holyjustlove.com

DBR Thought Of the Day ~ I am nothing without God.

I am nothing without God. I have no talents, no gifts, no friends, no shelter, no family, no purpose without the mighty work of God. I have no breath, no emotion, no feeling, no hearing, no touch, no sight without the mighty work of The Lord. It is in Him that I do anything, am anything. God will give us what we need. He will prescribe our life out of his glorious peace. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God.

Isaiah 26:12 ESV
O LORD, you will ordain in peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.

James 1:2-3 “How to Become Steady and Strong” by Jen O’Sullivan

How to Become Steady and Strong
by Jen O’Sullivan

James 1:2-3
Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
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James is writing to the Jews who have been scattered and were up against many trials. They were no longer in their homeland and were facing famine. The words James uses is specific to the time such as “testing” which means “proving” as in to perfect or refine silver or gold. It goes through intense fire (trials) to make it perfect and pure.

This verse give us assurance that our joy is that of a deep down settled confidence that God is in control. God gives us the “why” in all of this that we are to count it ALL joy which means unmixed with any other emotion. Not that everything is joy but that our trials should be met with only joy.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)

By finding the underlying joy in my trials and testing I know Jesus suffered way worse than I could ever imagine and he persevered perfectly through every one. My trials will bring about steadfastness. In Romans 5:3-5 he gives me a process: trials = endurance (steadfastness) = character = hope = righteousness. May God test us so that we might become steady and strong in our faith, lacking in nothing.

Friday Fruit Audit ~ Do you keep His Commandments?

God's Commandments

Do you keep His Commandments?

There is a great story my Pastor, Mike Fabarez tells of his childhood. He was a latch-key kid after school until his parents came home from work. His mom would leave a list of chores to be finished by the time she got home. Sure, Mike and his brother would play around all afternoon until it was about 30 minutes before Mom got home. Then they would rush around and do all the things she asked them to complete. If they didn’t, punishment would be their lot, and if they finished it all, that was what was to be expected.

Did you know God left us a list of things to do before He returns? It’s the Bible. His commands are plain and clear. Could you imagine telling your mom “Hey Mom, sorry I didn’t do what you asked me, I was busy.” or how about “I glanced at it but thought you wanted someone else to do it.” or my favorite, “I read the first line and it was too hard so I gave up.” I don’t know about you, but my Mom would have spanked me with the wooden spoon. Do you think God will be less of a judge to you when He returns?

There is another analogy I think about when I really want to put God in perspective.

If I punched my Mom, I would get grounded.
If I punched my Boss, I would get fired.
If I punched a Police Officer, I would get put in jail.
If I punched the President, I would get shot.
If I punched God, I would get “Oh, that’s OK little human, I’ll forgive you.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I would get pulverized and then get eternal damnation.

I think it is safe to say that we should consider our view of God as above all others when we flagrantly say, “His Word is too lengthy to read, and there are way too many do’s and don’ts to follow.” or “It is all too hard and I don’t like some of the things He wants me to do.” How would those statements go over with your Mom when you were 5? Consider the following verses in light of your own salvation.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. – 1 John 2:3-6 (ESV)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. – 1 John 5:3-4 (ESV)

Friday Fruits Audit ~ Your Words

bridle your tongueDo you bridle your tongue?

The words you say have the ability to direct your life; either to a sinful destiny or a godly destiny. I choose the latter, however, I often fail. I pray daily for help in this area and get sad when, once again, I blow it. James put it so well when he discusses this in the below passage. Readers were well acquainted with the understanding behind the examples of bits and horses, rudders and ships. They would have heard these analogies often. To compare those ideas with the tongue and the body makes one not think that you can control the body physically with the tongue but that the bit and the rudder controls the DIRECTION the horse and ship go, so similarly the tongue controls the direction a man goes; his is destiny to live a controlled, godly life.

“If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” – James 3:3-12, ESV

How many times do we have to mess this up before we get it right? Probably until we are home with Jesus. However, it is not something that we should overlook. Actually, having the Holy Spirit dwell in you means that your words, if slanderous, used for gossip, cussing with friends because it is funny, or any other ungodly use should have a somewhat immediate effect on your own spirit. I’m not saying you will be perfect and never wrongly judge or criticize someone. I am also not saying that the occasional profanity won’t slip from your mouth by accident. The difference is that the moment it does, if you are truly walking in the Spirit, you will feel convicted. It won’t be months later or even weeks or days. It will be within a moment or two. Perhaps even an hour if you are really in a funk. But that conviction will weigh heavy on your heart. It will cause you to notice right away as a reminder to do better next time. If you are growing as a believer in Christ, you will notice growth. The more you are convicted and continue to walk in the Spirit, the better you will get at bridling your tongue.

Blessing God ~ Wonderfully Made

You moms out there know the weight of this verse. Anyone who has gone through a full pregnancy understands the miracle of life. How awe-inspiring is our God!

Wonderfully Made“Wonderfully Made”

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

– Psalm 139:13-16, ESV

Photography by Jen O’Sullivan

Blessing God Series
Rain from the Lord
Grass in the Field
Parable of the Pearl
Rocks Cry Out
Flourish
Joy in the Thorns
Perfection
Fruit
Everything
Integrity
Hiding Place

Friday Fruit Audit ~ The Spirit

Do you walk by the Spirit?

The idea is that the more time you spend with God the closer you will become to him and the more you will want to spend time with him. Imagine getting to a place where you no longer need to “carve out” time in your life for God but where you need to carve out time in your walk with God for your life. The Lord promises that if you hunger and thirst to do his will, obey his commands, and follow after him you will be satisfied. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

In fact, you will be more than satisfied. Take a look at what Peter has to say:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” -1 Peter 1:8 (ESV)

In Peter’s day his readers understood the word “agapo” or “love” to mean continually loving God and as a regular daily activity. The word “pisteuo” or “believe” means to rest your confidence in or to trust in or depend on. The joy of this verse implies joy for the present. The word for rejoice was not commonly used by secular Greek writers of Peter’s day as it meant a deep spiritual joy. As we continually spend time daily with Jesus through faith we rejoice and have joy that is unutterable and exalted. They understood this as wanting more and more of Jesus and that joy was something only believers could experience. Have you experienced this?

Even though I have not seen him, I am active in my love and faith by daily worshiping him through prayer and bible reading. Because of this communion with him I have even deeper joy that is filled with the glory of heaven. By adjusting your life to focus more on God you will inevitably begin to mirror the below verses written by Paul to the Galatians.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)

My prayer: Father, what a gift you have given me in your Word. Help me to desire it more and more each day. Oh Jesus, I long to see your face. Father, I cannot wait to look upon your face shining like the sun. Holy Spirit, what an honor to know your person living in me. God, my God, I have faith and trust in you; to know that my belief in you brings me heavenly joy is so exciting! To think that perhaps my faith actually rests in you and that you are joyful for it is overwhelming. Thank you for loving me with a love I don’t even have words for.

 

Shana tova!!! ~ Happy New Year ~ May you be ascribed in the Book of Life! Enjoy your Rosh haShana!

Shana Tova! Rosh Hashana Apples and HoneyFor on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever. (Leviticus 16:30-31, ESV)

Take time today to reflect on your year. How did you do? How can you better follow what God commands you to do. How can you serve Him more fully. More of Him and less of you.

Have a truly blessed Yom Teruah / Rosh haShanah!

~ Jen