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Enduring Hard Places and Dark Spaces

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2023 6:31 pm

Enduring Hard Places and Dark Spaces

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble

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March 16, 2023 6:31 pm

Enduring Hard Places and Dark Spaces

Steve talks to Dr. Sam Horn from BJU about suffering for Christ whether you are living the “good” life or the hard one.

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Well, I know the odds are good today as we kick off another dose of Theology Thursday.

I know the odds are good that it's either in your past, it is your present or not, if not one of those two. It's definitely lurking on the horizon somewhere in your future. And that's just difficult times and hard places and dark spaces and tribulations and trials and pain and loss and disappointment and betrayal. All those things are out there.

And some people have said, well, you're either coming out of a trial, going into a trial or in the middle of a trial. And that's just the reality. I think we all know that. And the question is not that is there any way to avoid that. We like to think that we can, but you can't.

I mean, that was an ironclad guarantee. Jesus said in this life, you have trouble. And so that's just the deal.

I oftentimes have to use my not very sanctified way of communicating sometimes. I often tell people, especially younger Christians, all right, here's the deal. Let's say you get saved in New York City. God says, I'll meet you in L.A. when you're 81 and a half years old. So in the meantime, make your way across the country.

I'll see you over there. And that's all your life choices and everything else. And one other thing you need to know that the entire country of America is covered with cow feces like there's there's piles of cow poop all over the place, just just everywhere. So there's no way you're going to go from New York City to L.A. and not get it on you. Now, I would suggest that you don't just lay down in the field and roll your way through it. Wisdom will help you avoid some of that. However, you're going to get some on you. The question is when it happens and it will. And you already know that.

What do you do? So when you think about the Book of James, I don't know that we necessarily go, oh, I'm really down in the dump. I'm in a hard place in a dark space.

So I'm going to go to the Book of James because Book of James is kind of like that thing online that's been all the rage for about, I don't know, six months, nine months. Have you seen this where people will have two people? They'll each have a big one of those big giant tortillas.

They each get a mouthful of water and then they slap each other across the face with a tortilla. And you're trying to get the other person. It's laughter. It's laughter, really, because it's not all that painful. You're trying to get them to spit the water out. And you're like, oh, yeah, OK.

I don't know what's the point of that as we numb ourselves to death. But that's like the Book of James. All right. And that's one of the reasons I like the Book of James is because it's that tortilla across the face. All right.

It's very difficult teaching, very confrontational. But can it help you when you're in a hard place or a dark space? Well, the answer to that may surprise you. And the answer to that is a resounding yes. So we'll getting near the end here of our long time in the Book of James with our good friend Dr. Sam Horn from BJA Seminary.

Sam, sorry, I think my introductions get longer every time we're on. They get better. I'm seriously I don't think I'll ever read the Book of James again without thinking about rolling across the country, trying to avoid certain things. Yes, certain things.

Get slapped in the face with a tortilla. Right. Yeah. Oh, I don't think I've ever seen those imagery there. Welcome to the pop culture version of Christianity. You know, I love it. We talked about this big street theology and street tacos are part of that.

So I really can relate to that. You know, Steve, I think you said something really important. And that is, you know, James gives us unexpected advice for hard places in dark spaces when he introduced that concept way at the beginning.

Right. He says, don't be surprised, counted all joy when you run into a trial. And we spent time in Chapter one. And so we're armed up for that. We're ready for the trial. And what hits us in Chapter five is a trial we never expected. You know, we expect opposition from certain quarters.

Sure. You know, we expect opposition from the people that, you know, are anti our message or they're anti God. But when it comes from people who we thought might be in our quarter, we're sometimes not prepared for that.

Yeah. And so what we have here in Chapter five is a very particular trial that is coming on these early Christians who are launching out into some of the hardest places and darkest spaces in the world of their day. They were the very first Christians, and they were showing up in these cities where there were no churches. They might have been the very first Christian in that city.

And they launch in. And there's a group of people in that city who are there ahead of them who believe in the same God. They have the same Old Testament. And they're all talking about Messiah. And these people are coming going we worship the same God as you. We have the same Torah that you have. And we know who the Messiah is. And instead of being welcomed, they get absolutely pillory.

They get absolutely persecuted ruthlessly. And that's what's going on in Chapter five. And so what happens when people we thought would be supportive of our message are the very people that turn against us. And that's really, I think, one of the keys to the Book of James, because all of us face that. I don't think there's one of us who's listening to this program or you and I on the program who haven't at one time or another been shocked. I mean, just like taken out almost like we got it's sort of like you're running down the ball at the game and one of your own team members tackles you.

You're like, what? I didn't see that coming. And so that's what James is getting us ready for here. That's why I dropped the B word into that list, which is betrayal, because that that's essentially what it feels like. And this is incoming fire from your own ranks. You've got friendly fire coming in. You're getting shot by your own people. And I think especially over the last couple of years, Sam, that even with Covid, we saw this because there was so much division in the church and people that you thought were your friends.

All of a sudden you post that they go ballistic. They start saying things about you. And then, you know, relationships gets destroyed. Friendships get destroyed.

I've seen some of that wreckage in my own life. And it's just brutal to deal with that, because that's you know, I know if it's coming from an unbeliever in a political realm, I know what to expect from an especially an unbeliever that's liberal. But when it comes from somebody that I love Jesus, they love Jesus. I believe the Bible. They believe the Bible. They go to church. I go to church.

We go to Bible believing, Bible preaching, Bible expositing churches where you are on the same side, like you said. But then, man, something happens and it just blows up. And it's in your blindsided. You're shocked by that.

Yeah, no. And I think that really is disconcerting. And so let's so let's jump into what James says here. And in the first couple of verses in Chapter five, he identifies a group of people. And and these are not Christians.

So I want to make sure I'm not comparing, you know, the kind of persecution we've just been talking about. But there are lessons we can learn from this passage. But he talks about a group of people here and he calls them rich. Right. He says, Come now, you rich. So he's inviting them to a conversation.

Yeah. Isaiah said, Come now, let us reason together. So here is God. I'm sorry, here's James. And he's talking to these people.

And then he's going to describe them as incredibly wealthy. Hold that thought. Invite it into the conversation, which is what we'll do next. We'll be correct.

Correct. No, that's a great point. Welcome back at Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show, Theology Thursday, as it is every week with our friends at BJU Seminary. There's just something in my soul that just won't let me interrupt the beginning of that song. So that's if you're wondering, Steve, when are you going to start talking?

I don't know. It almost feels sinful to interrupt. That's such a great beginning of a song.

That's a whole other issue altogether. But welcome to the way your humble host brain works. I am all over the place. I'm like taking a golf. I'm like taking a shopping cart through the grocery store, but at about 50 miles an hour.

It's just crazy stuff going on all over the place. And then we have the calm, cool and collected Dr. Sam Horne back in the house today. Sam, thanks again for your time. I'm trying not to laugh as I'm listening to you and watch.

No, it's hilarious. So, yeah, you're setting this up. Let me just throw something in here and then I'll throw the ball back to you. Talking about there in James, Chapter five, and he's talking about this is trouble inside the group, the bodies, if you will. People that believe the same thing. We're all about Moses. We're all about the prophets. We're all about the Torah.

OK, great. But you have these wealthy Jewish landowners who then just start completely excoriating these these other Christians. And I brought up covid. We get the point here is regardless of which side you're on, VAX, anti VAX, mass, non VAX, shut down, don't shut down. I think we all at one point in covid during the covid mania looked at other Christians, our brothers and sisters in Christ, like the rich, wealthy Jewish landowners looked at the others. I think we're all guilty this from time to time. I think we both we all experience both sides.

We're the we're the we're the accuser, we're the we're the abuser, we're the nasty person and we're the victim. So I just wanted to make sure that we all know that we're talking about all of us as we go through this. Yeah. And I appreciate that because I think they're you know, there were pastors who were extremely bold. There were Christians who were extremely bold on both sides. And whatever your views are, there was a group in the middle who may not have had as many options as people thought they should have. Yeah. You know, if you're renting and we were talking earlier, if you're renting a building as a pastor and the landlord says, this is what you got to do, or maybe you're working a job and your boss says, if you want a job, this is what you got to do.

People had to make unbelievable choices. And so but when you come to James five, the people here are clearly in a different category than what you and I are talking about. These are very wealthy landowners and they are very familiar with Moses. They are very familiar with the Torah. They are very familiar with the prophets because James is going to pull all of those pieces in when he talks to them.

And so I think we've met these people way back in Chapter two. Yeah, I think these are Jewish people in all these cities. Remember how Paul said he would go into a city in the very first place you would go to with the synagogue. And some of these men were incredibly wealthy and powerful men until eighty seventy in the Roman Empire, the Roman Empire recognized in every city, the Jewish contingency. And they had a dispensation so they could worship according their own way.

And they were able to live and prosper. And into that city comes a Christian and they have the same God, Yahweh. They have the same Bible, the Old Testament, and they believe in a Messiah.

The only difference between these two groups is that the Christian believes Messiah has already come. Right. And the Jewish group does it and they become ruthless against them. And James says, now, how do you handle that? Do you go back at them?

What do you do in that scenario? And so he talks to those people. He invites them into the conversation and he calls on Moses. He calls on the prophets.

He warns them of their impending doom. And then he says to them at the end of this little section, verse five, you have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. If you're a Jew, that's the last thing you want somebody to tell you, because that's not why God puts you on the planet as a nation.

Right. You're supposed to take the Abrahamic blessings to everybody. You have fattened your hearts in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered righteous people and the righteous man does not resist you. And so the question is, why don't they resist? Right, because I want to resist.

That's my natural. Why don't they resist? And the answer is maybe because they know something and maybe they know that there's a judgment coming on the people that are persecuting them and they want to be like someone who was persecuted before them and how he handled their enemies. So this is a really powerful picture here. Yeah, and I think that just kick this off in terms of how do you deal with this, because we're going to talk about a couple of things that are in the blog post today, by the way, which I put a link up to that our friends at BGO Seminary already do, always do. The inescapable doom of oppressors, which you just alluded to a little bit, and the precious fruit of patience. And then we'll get to the ultimate reward.

But before that, in verse eight, chapter five, this loving leader exerts readers to establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Help us understand a little bit about this established, because this to me, Sam, is like this trump card. I have a trump card.

I'm not referencing the Cheeto guy. OK, I have a trump card, which I carry with me into every situation and the doom of oppressors, which could I could apply in a lot of different ways. And then the precious fruit of patience. But to establish yourself in that, help us understand that, because that's a really pregnant word established, especially in the Greek. So the word establish means to strengthen from the inside. So when you have so I use this illustration, you can take a can of soda that's empty and you stand on it and immediately flattens. But if it's got soda in it, then you can stand on that can in the canals.

Why? There's something inside that sustains it. So it's strengthening from the inside. And James is saying there's something that will strengthen you internally so that whatever pressure comes against you, you'll be a good farmer in that hard place, in that dark space. So what is it that you strengthen yourself with and you strengthen yourself with the promise of God that's in his word? You can see that in verse seven. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.

See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it. You also, verse eight, be patient. Establish your heart for the coming of the Lord is at hand. And in essence, James is saying God made you a promise. And the promise is that he's coming. And while you're waiting for him to come, strengthen yourself with that promise. These are God's words, right? You strengthen yourself with the truth of God's word.

And you and I talked about this at the break. Many, many Christians don't really have a daily relationship with their Bible. They don't even have a weekly relationship with their Bible. It's much more like spiritual fast food that you kind of throw in a bag and on your way out the door, you reach in and you just grab a little handful of it and you throw it in your mouth and you're good for the day. And that's okay every once in a while.

I mean, there are wonderful ways in which God has raised up ministries that give you little doses of God's word. Well, and I think we, you know, I think we all know we're talking about devotionals. Right.

Oh, what's the most famous one? I just lost it because that's what happens. Well, you got you got stuff like the daily bread, your daily bread. Right. There's that there's always and those are all good in and of themselves. But we both had kind of an analogy for that. You were talking about trail mix and you can't live on trail mix. Yeah.

You know, you can get you from one hour to the next, a little snack here and there. But if all you do is devotional stuff and you don't spend any time in the word, then you're going to undermine everything that we're talking about here in terms of dealing with these dark times and these dark spaces and these hard places, you're going to undermine all that. So back to Sam's point, then we're hitting the break. If you're not regularly in God's word, I don't care how many devotionals you're using.

You're not equipped. You cannot establish your heart without consistent God's word. We'll be right back. Welcome back. It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday with our friends at BGU Seminary. And we're referencing today as we do just about every week, our friends at BGU and especially today, Dr. Sam Horn, who's with us as we are about to wrap up our conversation on James Seminary Viewpoints at the BGU website is where you can find every week we've done this for over a year now, about a year and a half where where every week we have these incredible conversations.

These are very, very wise men who bring a lot to the table. But we always almost always have a blog post that they put together to go along with it. So you can study yourself. You can dig a little deeper. Plus, that gives you access to a lot of other resources that you can get to via the website.

But you can get there and see all of these every week. So this one's just put up today. Seminary.BJU.EDU.RADIO.

OK, Seminary.BJU.EDU.RADIO. And then you can just start scrolling down. I'm looking at it right now. And I've got January this year, December last year, November, October, September, August, June, July, all the way back to September of twenty twenty one. OK, so we've been at this for almost a couple of years this September. So there's a lot in there and not just what we're talking about today, but just week after week after week. So that will be a blessing to you and that will help you.

But I would never tell you nor would Sam that, hey, listen, you want to grow in the Lord, all you need to do is go to Seminary.BJU.EDU.RADIO and grab the blog post and then listen to the show every Thursday and you'll be right as rain. Right. That that would be a problem. Yeah.

Not Dr. Horn. I would love that. It'd be great. It would be great. But that's not enough.

No, it's not. And, you know, I think that's I'm like, you know, I listen to the things that you say on the program. They're so helpful. And the things I say every week on Sunday, I hope they're helpful. But at the end of the day, even what I say on Sunday, you know, we're going through Jonah right now, even preaching through Jonah is not enough. They they really go. They need to get in Jonah.

I need to be in Jonah. Yeah. And other parts of the Bible. So to your point, you know, we don't need we words about the Bible are helpful, but they're not the same as the words that God put in the Bible. Right. And if I'm constantly chewing on somebody else's words about the Bible, at some point, I'm going to get I'm going to be I'm going to be malnourished. Right. Right.

I'm going to miss something. And then when I most need that strength, it's not there. I haven't established my heart. I haven't strengthened it with the right thing. And sooner or later, under pressure, it's going to crumble. And sometimes it's going to crumble from the inside out.

Well, yeah. And that's I wanted to ask you this question as a pastor, besides being a professor there at BGU and leadership there as a pastor, if you could take this little secret look into all of your parishioners lives and not let's say I'm one of them. What would you want my goal to be in terms of how much time I'm spending in God's Word every week? Is that every day except Sunday?

Is it three days a week, five days a week? How much time like I'm trying not to be the older brother or the rich young ruler here and ask for a list. But if you could just take a glance into our lives, Pastor Sam, what would put a smile on your face? And you'd be like, OK, Steve, that's good. Good job.

How would I get up at least to be in that class? Well, I love I'd rather be a pastor than professor, to be honest. I'm thankful I don't have to choose. I get to be both. You know, I don't know that I have a set amount of time or a set amount of days.

I think I think the tribe I grew up in did that. You got to have X amount of time and it's got to be in the morning. You got to check your box. Right. And that got real legalistic.

And so I don't want to go back to that. So I'm I'm more concerned about how much of the word of God is in you and in me. And you can tell that.

Right. So I'm looking in my own life and I'm looking in the life of people that I look at when I need help. And you can just tell when a person is in the word, when they talk to you and they respond, there's they respond with scripture. You know, Pastor, this is I was reading the Bible the other day and this is what I got.

And this is helping me navigate a trial. I was talking to somebody from our church the other day and this came up. We were having a discussion about something that's not clear in the scripture. And I was pontificating as the, you know, the lead pastor. And at the end of that discussion, one guy on the lay passage raised hand, said, well, Pastor, where's the biblical support for what you just said? And I'm like, well, yeah, OK. And so we kind of mumbled my way through it. Then I went home and that night he sent an email to all of us and he had a ton of scripture in there. And he said, now, I'm not I'm not arguing against what we talked about.

He goes, but I just need some answers to these questions. And I walked away from that going. I was rebuked because here's a guy who was inherently thinking scripture that needed to be answered. Yeah. And so it ended up with. So that's what I'm talking about. I look for someone who has learned to think biblically about life. Yeah.

And that's that's the big thing, because some of that is cumulative. I've got a lot of cumulative biblical knowledge. I think I tend to think biblically. I speak biblically.

And oftentimes I'll speak biblically in a way that's not chapter and verse. Correct. It's almost like the message.

I can paraphrase stuff. Exactly. But that's in your soul. Right.

I mean, that's coming from him. And I run into this, too. I can't rest on that.

Right. Because I find that the days that I'm diligent and right now I'm doing the Old Testament in the year and the days that I'm diligent and especially if I start my day that way, it just tends to get my car on the right track, even if it's just seven minutes, 10 minutes, 12 minutes, whatever. It just kind of brings me back to the source and keeps me close, which enables me to do a lot more. There's a benefit there. So just say just because, hey, I've been studying God's word for 30 years.

I don't need to be in it. And every day, I think that's a very dangerous perspective to take. So it's just just a caution about that. So as we talk about this, establishing from James, five, eight. And then you mentioned two things, the inescapable doom of oppressors and the precious fruit of patience. So let's unpack unpack those, because especially when you're getting attacked and all that kind of mess is going on, these are things that especially dealing with the agricultural war and all that mess like I do.

These are really helpful for me personally. So in Paul's day, excuse me, in James's day and in Paul's day, the agricultural economy was what drove everything. The Roman empire was predominantly agricultural. So everybody understood the illustration of a farmer, a landowner that had a field or had fields.

And James says, you're like that. You are God's farmer and he's putting you in his field. His field might be the city of Corinth, right? His, his field for you might be Ephesus, his field for you, me, maybe Jerusalem or Samaria. So God has a field it's called the earth, and he's going to send you into a portion of his field and you're supposed to farm it.

And what you're, what you're putting into the ground was back in chapter three. You are sowing something in peace. That's supposed to reap a harvest of righteousness.

Okay. So here you are, this is the image God says, I'm Steve Nobel. I'm going to give you a field and every day you're going to get on that field for an hour and you're going to sow seed out of the bag that I'm giving you. And the goal of it is to reap righteousness in the heart of your here. And, and I'm warning you, James says, you're going to get opposition. You're going to get opposition from pagan people who hate what you're doing, but you're also going to get people who oppose you, who should be embracing you.

And they're not. And so you're going to have to strengthen your heart because when you face those kinds of oppositions, you can either decide this isn't worth it. I'm closing up shop. I'm quitting the field.

I'm going to go do something else with my life. That's more comfortable, or you can stay in that field and you can be like Joe, you can be like the prophets and you can be like Elijah. And if you'll do that, then you'll reap a harvest. And there are two things that are going to help you stay in the field. Number one, you need to know that God knows about your oppressors.

That's right. And he's going to take care of them and whatever they, whatever they throw at you, even if they take away your life, don't fight back. Don't resist them in carnal ways. This is not talking about don't use legitimate means. You know, it's not talking about being a pacifist, absorb abuse. We're not talking about that.

This is not talking about that. This is talking about don't fight fire with the same fire. In other words, they're going to lie about you. They're going to, they're going to ruthlessly go against you. They're going to steal from you.

I mean, read all the stuff that we just read about. And James says, when they come against you, you can't return that. You can't do that to your enemies.

Jesus didn't do that to his enemies. So, so how in the world am I going to get the strength for that? I'm going to need to strengthen my soul so that I can be patient. The word patient there means to endure. It means to hold up under pressure. So those two images, you use the beautiful image of the guy, the weather guy out in the storm.

Yeah. And he's getting blown away and he's getting blown everywhere, but he's anchored. He's got his feet planted in a certain way. And no matter how that wind blows his hats, blowing off his coats, blown everywhere. You can barely his words are getting blown away, but that dude is positioned. And James is saying, when you get into that field, position yourself and anchor your feet.

So you don't get blown around. And then that internal picture of being crushed, some of the most crushing things that come into our life are the words of other people. Oh, absolutely. No, they can be nothing can deflate your heart quicker than somebody's words. And James says, you got to put other words in their place. Amen.

That's such a great point. The word of God. And for some people today, those words are from 2030.

Those words are from when you were a kid, they come out of your mom's, your mom's mouth or your dad's mouth. We want to talk more. I want to talk more about patients when we come back right after this. You know, our friends in Winston-Salem are saying the computer froze at the computer freezes. That's a problem for radio, but it's not a problem for Facebook and it's not a problem for no rumble. We can keep rolling.

We're still rocking. Hi, I'm Johnny Erickson. Did you hear that question? Yeah, here it is.

What does the word humility mean? No radio. Cause I don't hear that. Okay, so let's just dive right back in here. We were talking about over the break, uh, because I want to, patience is a big deal. Okay.

So patients, I cracked a joke about long suffering because I struggle with being a patient person, but long suffering. So the inescapable doom of oppressors, I know that God's going to settle every single account. I talked about it earlier today in my ethics class with my high school students, that God's going to settle every single account, which is why I can sleep at night, knowing that justice absolutely will be done eventually.

Okay. And so with believers, people inside the family that have harmed us or betrayed us, I know God's going to deal with them in one way or another. He'll humble them. He'll deal with them. They're not my problem.

They're his. And then people outside of the family of faith, man, that, that I should not delight in thinking about God dealing with them. Cause he's going to deal with them forever. If they don't repent come to Christ. So I, I know that every injustice I suffer or that I see other suffering is going to be dealt with either by the end, by the perpetrator forever and ever in a place called hell, or they're going to turn that over to Jesus, but every account is going to get settled.

That's awesome. Then there's the precious fruit of patience, which you were talking about and long suffering and, and like a farmer who has to, I could never be a farmer. Cause then I got to just sit around and wait. You can't cram on a farm.

I can't cram on a farm. I don't like that. So help us with that one.

Yeah. So patience is, is a really interesting word in the Bible. And I think it took me a while to catch this cause I, you know, we all have these ideas of patience. Like I go to the doctor's office and I got to get there. And then the doctor's busy and I got to wait for half an hour and I got to be patient or I got to wait for something. And I got to be patient.

You know, I ordered something on Amazon. I really want it to come. I thought it was coming tomorrow. It didn't come.

It didn't come the next day. I got to be patient. The biblical idea of patience is not that the biblical idea of patience is endurance. And so how do I endure something endurance implies that there's pressure, you know, patients implies I got time to kill endurance means I'm under something. I wish we're not there. There's pressure.

And I'm I, I, how do I deal with that? Right. And so James is going to say, your patience, your endurance needs to be marked by two things. And he's going to talk about the prophets and he's going to talk about a man named Job. And he says, okay, now when you endure as a farmer and you got all this stuff happening, coming at you, being thrown at you, you need to endure with patients like the prophets did.

And they were gracious in their long suffering. And so let me give you some examples of this. I mean, you got, you got Jeremiah, let me just give you two quick examples. Jeremiah, one of the best known prophets in your Bible had a terrible message to give to Israel.

It was brutal. He's basically saying you have rebelled against God. Like rebellion is written in your heart.

Like somebody took a diamond and wrote it, you know, etch etched it on your heart. He's got this horrible message and he suffers for it. I mean, can you imagine going to the King and saying, don't fight the Babylonians, don't open the gates, let him in, let him in. And so they take away his house. They persecute his family. They throw him in a pit, they kidnap him and he's going, no, no, no, I'm just telling you, don't do this.

Let the battle, we're not, we're, we're running away from the Babylonians and we're taking you with us. And so Jeremiah is abused. He's ridiculed. He's ruthlessly persecuted. And he loves those people.

Isaiah, there's another example, has an entire ministry as an old man, more than 40 years of ministry to the same people. And at the end, the King King Manasseh puts them inside a tree and saws them in half. And these two men responded to all of that with loving, gracious, broken heartedness. And I have been so convicted about that, Steve, because you know, we can't water down the message. Sometimes you do have to speak truth to power, but are you speaking it out of a broken heart?

And are you speaking it with a gracious mouth? And I, you know, you mentioned it earlier, you talked about lament. The problem with lament in our circles is it doesn't sell books.

It doesn't build congregate. You know, people aren't going to flock to hear a guy who's in the pulpit and he is broken heartedly talking to people about what's going on in their lives. Man, we want you to bring the fire. You know, we want you to write the letters.

We want you to get out there and take it to them. And you start looking at these Old Testament prophets and that's not how they did it. So thing number one is there is this gracious, loving, broken heartedness for the people who are doing the persecuting.

And then secondly, there is this faith-filled confidence in God, even when you never get an explanation for the suffering. Like, God, why are you letting this go on? You know, I mean, we just had three banks fail.

Can't you see our problem is in a mess here? I mean, what's going on? When are you going to step in, God? We've been praying. We've been fasting.

We've been doing all these things. And I'm using something in our country right now, but take it in your family, take it in your ministry. And God says, you're going to be a farmer.

You're going to need these two things. You're going to need a loving heart and you're going to need a gracious mouth. And that doesn't mean you don't speak truth out of that mouth. That doesn't mean you don't sometimes look somebody in the eye and say, that's just a bald face lie. You can't tell God's people that, or that's going to destroy God's people. If you keep pushing that lie through the government channel that you're representing, you're going to hurt a lot of people. Sometimes you do have to speak truth to power. What kind of heart do you have as you speak truth to power and what kind of mouth do you speak it out of? And that's the whole point to this section here.

You've got to come back and say two things at the end. God is going to approve of a heart and a mouth that are like kids. And God is going to reward that kind of a life.

Yeah. I was going to ask you, you know, the with them principle, what's, what's in it for me. And when we choose to handle all these challenges that way, uh, what's in it and that, and that's, and James kind of addresses that we're in verse 11 here, behold, we consider those blessed who remain steadfast. You've heard of the steadfastness of Job, which you mentioned, you've seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

So, so what do we get out of this doing it God's way? You get the approval of God. That's the word blessed, right? The word blessed isn't talking about material blessing.

It isn't talking about, uh, external stuff. It's talking about God's approval. And all of a sudden, as God looks down on the entire earth, here's a farmer in a hard place, but here's the Roman empire. And here's a little farmer in the middle of the city of Corinth. And he's in a hard place and he's in a dark space and God's looking down from heaven and he's calling everybody over, Hey, I want you to look at down there. I approve of that man.

That's pretty cool. I approve of him. You get the approval of God. And then at the end, you get the compassion of God. And that doesn't mean that God feels sorry for you. Oh, I feel so sorry.

You know, I I'm so sorry that happened to you. Bless Sam's heart. Compassion means God gets involved.

God, God gets off his throne and he gets involved. He said, you know what? I approve of that guy in Rome and I'm going to go stand right next to him. I'm going to be in that trench with him. I'm going to be in that field with him. He's not going to see me with his eyes, but I'm going to be there and I'm going to, I'm going to strengthen him. I'm going to sustain him. I'm going to further his work and when he gets to heaven, I have a huge reward for him.

Yeah, that's so cool. It's not what's in it for me. It's what he's going to do for me. That that's really the big deal. Well, and that, that reminds me so many people that go through incredibly dark times, incredibly challenging things, massive betrayal, massive disappointment, massive loss, uh, will often say, uh, in it and, and coming out of it that they had never experienced God on such a deep personal level.

I think we've often say that. There's a pastor, I knew him years ago and I can't remember. He used to talk about, he had one example he's talking about, uh, out on a long hiking trip and he's, uh, the guide on the hiking trip, they're eventually going to go up to this really high ascent that's the top of the mountain. But, uh, the guy's asking him, the hiker asking the guide, you know, the thing I noticed when the higher you have to go to the mountain, uh, the less vegetation there is. And the guy says, yeah, at the top of the mountain, it's a great view, but you can't survive up there. You get all your sustenance in the Valley. This is true.

I remember going through one of the worst trials of my life when my wife got cancer and was given virtually very little chance of survival. And somebody who's who came to me, uh, said to me, he said, Sam, there is fruit that grows in that Valley and it doesn't grow anywhere, anywhere else. And the only way to get that fruit is to be in that Valley. And I didn't understand that at the time.

In fact, I kind of got ticked when he said that I'd be like, but quit placating me. That was in 2007. And I can just tell you, brother, there's fruit that grows in those dark places that God puts you in and it's sweet, but you don't get the fruit if you don't stay in the dark place. That's right. And in the hard place.

And sometimes it takes a while for that fruit to grow. Is it? Yeah. That, that back to, to dovetail that, uh, we fight like crazy to stay on the mountain top.

Oh yeah. But there's this fun up there, but you can't get fed up there. You can't, uh, and stuff doesn't grow in your life up there.

No, it doesn't grow in your life up there. And then I, you know, to, to your point with you and your bride, Sam, then I would throw it that one then at that point. Now that's second Corinthians chapter one, where then you become a steward of that affliction. God uses you to minister to others who are walking through the same. God came right next to you, just like that farmer. He said, I'm gonna stand right next to you. And I, myself, I'm going to come for you. And that's what he did.

And he'll do that for every kid. Every one of our listeners, every one of our listeners, every child of God through Christ, he'll do the same thing for you. Awesome. As always, Sam, thank you so much for guiding us through James and we're almost at the end of the book, but it's always great. Always wonderful to have you on. Thank you so much for your time and for sharing with us. Great to see you then we'll pick it up again tomorrow. This is Steve noble on the Steve noble show. God willing. I'll talk to you again real soon. And like my dad always used to say, never forth. Another program powered by the truth network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 20:21:13 / 2023-03-19 20:38:01 / 17

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