2”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (NIV)
Well, I am so sorry that I skipped a week on you guys. With much surprise, last week was a very painful and long week. For those of you who have had your appendix removed, you would agree that it is a very painful experience. To my surprise, my appendix was very infected and would not get better. So, Wednesday afternoon they removed my appendix. While I was dealing with this, my church was also facing a very difficult situation. This past week the pastor of my church resigned. As I sit here this Monday, I am feeling much better, but healing is much needed for my church family.
As I searched for something that would be perfect for my church family, but also apply to any of us. I came across this wonderful devotion. Instead of trying to summarize it for you, I am going to share the whole excerpt from the book.
“A group of climbers set out to scale a large mountain in Europe. The view boasted a breathtaking peak of snowcapped rocks. On clear days the crested point reigned as king on the horizon. Its white tip jutted the blue sky inviting admiration and offering inspiration.
On days like that the hikers made the greatest progress. The peak stood above them like a compelling goal. Eyes were called upward. The walk was brisk. The cooperation was unselfish. Though many, they climbed as one, all looking to the same summit.
Yet on some days the peak of the mountain was hidden from view. The cloud covering would eclipse the crisp blueness with a drab, gray ceiling and block the vision of the mountaintop. On those days the climb became arduous. Eyes were downward and thoughts inward. The goal was forgotten. Tempers were short. Weariness was an uninvited companion. Complaints stung like thorns on the trail.
We’re like that, aren’t we? As long as we can see our dream, as long as our goal is within eyesight, there is no mountain we can’t climb or summit we can’t scale. But take away our vision, block our view of the trail’s end, and the result is as discouraging as the journey.
Think about it. Hide the Nazarene who calls to us from the mountaintop and see what happens.
Listen to the groans of the climbers as they stop and sit by the side of the path. Why continue if there is no relief in sight? Pilgrims with no vision of th promised land become proprietors of their own land. They set up camp. They exchange hiking boots for loafers and trade in their staffs for new recliners. Instead of looking upward at him, they look inward at themselves and outward at each other. The result? Cabin fever. Quarreling families. Restless leaders. Fence-building. Staked-off territory. No trespassing! signs are hung on hearts and homes. Spats turn into fights as myopic groups turn to glare at each other’s weaknesses instead of turning to worship their common Strength.
Mark it down. We are what we see. If we see only ourselves, our tombstones will have the same epitaph Paul used to describe enemies of Christ: “Their god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon” (Philippians 3:19).
Humans were never meant to dwell in the stale fog of the lowlands with no vision of their Creator.
That’s why God came near. To be seen.
And that’s why those who saw him were never the same. “We saw his glory,” exclaimed one follower.
“We were eyewitnesses to his majesty,” whispered a martyr.
They saw the peak. They breathed the fresh air of the high country. They caught a glimpse of the pinnacle. And they refused to quit climbing until they reached the top. They wanted to see Jesus.
Seeing Jesus is what Christianity is all about. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating him who we see. To see his majesty and to imitate him, that is the sum of Christianity.
This is why those who see him today are never the same again.
Acquiring a vision of your Maker can be like starting a whole new life. It can be like a new birth. In fact, the One who inspired this book said that new beginnings and good eyesight are inseparable. “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
If Jesus is who he says he is, there is no truth more worthy of your time and no god more worthy of your devotion. Keep climbing. And keep looking up. But make sure your eyes are on the Savior.”
I appreciate you taking the time to read this passage and I hope it was something you needed to hear. In James we read the letter that he wrote urging Christians to express their faith in daily living. 2”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (NIV) I Haven’t always been a big fan of The Message Bible, but let me tell you how it translates this scripture, I really do love it: “2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” James 1:2-3 (The Message)
I pray for each of you and His guidance in your life. No matter what life brings you, keep your eyes on Him!
Have a wonderful week!
P.S. I would like to start a email prayer chain. There have been many prayer request brought to my attention. If you would like to be apart of this, please email me and let me know to add your email address. I will send this out separate from our verse of the week. Prayer is very important and I know we will make a difference by coming together and giving it to Him. Please let me here from you soon, I would like to send this out as soon as tomorrow. Thanks so much!